Though a one size fit for all is not possible, however a general guideline can be provided on when and where the intellectual property must be registered in the process of business formation.
Business process and IP in each step:
Step 1: Inception of idea for business
Action Item: Read up on IRR or engage an IP lawyer/ expert.
Many business owners feel that because they have come up with an exceptional idea, it belongs to them. It ‘could’ belong to them and that is where engaging an expert comes into play. Reading up on what IP means is a useful first step to understand your rights. However engaging an expert goes a long way in ensuring that any important aspect of your intellectual property has not been overlooked which can cause you massive losses in business, down the line, if left unchecked.
Step 2: Creation of formula for product and/or production process
Action Item: Apply for Patent Registration
Now that you have your idea, the second step will be to create your secret formula for your product. This could be a unique manufacturing or production process, a unique recipe or formula for a medicine. In this case you should seek advice on how to register your patent. If your business does not have a unique formula or manufacturing process, then this step will be skipped.
Step 3: Creation of trademark for business/ brand
Action Item: Apply for Trademark registration
Each business must have a brand name under which it will be selling its products. This brand name becomes the business ‘trade mark’, ‘trademark’ or mark. Though theoretically, this is the stage where you should apply for the registration of your trademark. However seek advice from an expert on when it is the best time to register your trademark in your particular case.
Step 4: Creation of content, material for marketing/ sales etc.
Action Item: Apply for Copyright Registration.
Though if you can establish that you are the first writer of any content, you get the universal automatic copyright to your content. However, where content is being used to create a specific product that has the potential to be commercialized, it is highly advisable to seek professional help in getting your content registered under the Copyrights Ordinance 1962.
Step 5: Business launch
Action Item: At least Trademark and if relevant, patent registrations, should have been applied for by now.
By the time, your business is about to be launched, you should ideally have invested in applying for your intellectual property rights in assets such as trademark, patent, copyright and/ or industrial design as and where appropriate.