Apple’s recent $1-billion patent victory over Samsung shows just how rich the stakes can become in intellectual property disputes, providing another reminder that all innovative companies, large or small, need to be aggressive in defending their inventions and brands.
We’ve pointed out before that a patent issued in a company’s home country isn’t much protection in overseas markets. Ina post on ReadWriteWeb, Jeffrey Shieh, a senior patent attorney at U.S.-based inovia, offers some valuable tips on what start-ups can do to back their IP, and when they should do it. Here’s an excerpt:
“Because patents are country-specific and are limited to the borders of the issuing country, start-ups need to take a hard look at their financials and come up with a strategy and budget for entering select countries. They also need to keep in mind that after filing for a U.S. patent, there is a limited timeframe available for applying for international patent protection. The worst case scenario would be for a start-up to forgo international patent protection and later realize that it isn’t able to protect its invention against infringers in other markets. So while a start-up may operate only in the U.S. today, if there’s a chance that it may someday manufacture in Asia, sell in Europe, or compete with a company in Australia, it must act now.”
For more information, read this small-business primer on patent protection.