Bristol Business Blog: West of England Combined Authority. Find new opportunities and protect growth with Intellectual Property

April 5, 2021

Did you know that your Intellectual Property (IP) assets can be integral to the growth and sustainability of your business? When properly managed, the value of your IP can far outweigh physical assets, accounting for over 70% of your business’s value.

One of the biggest misconceptions we hear about is business owners thinking they don’t own or use any IP because they haven’t invented anything. The great news is that IP covers any original creation, and can be categorised into four main areas: 

  • Patents – most commonly associated with IP law – protect new inventions; how they work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made.
  • Trade marks – protect brands and can consist of a word, phrase, picture or a combination of all these.
  • Designs – protect the overall visual appearance of a product including the colour, shape, texture and material.
  • Copyright – protects literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound and film recordings, software and databases.

Some of these rights can be registered and some have automatic rights, so in those cases proving who created the IP is key.

Getting a better handle on your IP can help you to more effectively penetrate existing markets by making it easier to differentiate yourself from the competition, as well as further developing your proposition and identifying new opportunities.

It can also reduce the risk of competitors taking market share, help you to identify new channels and strengthen your overall position, which can make it easier for things like accessing finance.

In addition, taking the appropriate measures will ensure your IP is protected and integrated when collaborating with other businesses, and everything is as it should be when it comes to licensing your IP (in/out or cross license).

What has my IP got to do with the new EU rules? 

It’s important to know that there are changes to UK IP law as a result of the EU transition which could affect you, so it is strongly advisable for you to take the opportunity to review or take a first look at how IP impacts on your business.  This will ensure that you are making the most of what are valuable assets to your organisation. You need to be up to speed on the changes to UK IP law.

What’s the impact on my business? 

When you have a great idea for a product or service, there will always be people who will want to duplicate your success and sell your ideas as their own. Depending on individual circumstances, you can use patents, trademarks or copyrights – all of which cover different areas of intellectual property. These can be used to prevent competitors or anyone else from using your ideas for their own profit without your consent.

It’s very important to protect any unique products or services that you own as competitors can use your success to take away market share, resulting in slow growth or loss of revenue. Losing market share early on in a business’s development can be devastating and time consuming.

Where do I start?

The West of England Combined Authority’s dedicated business support service, the West of England Growth Hub, provides SMEs with tailored one-to-one advice and access to finance, support programmes and expert guidance.

In partnership with the Intellectual Property Office, the Growth Hub can help you to understand your IP requirements and advise on what you can do. This includes any changes you need to make as a result of the EU transition.

With bespoke support from the West of England Growth Hub, your business can find new opportunities

The West of England Growth Hub supports businesses throughout Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.

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