On this World IP Day, we examine the 2021 theme highlighting small businesses, “IP and SMEs” and how small-medium sized enterprises should approach patents, trademarks and copyrights in order to bring their ideas to market. SMEs hold a significant percentage of modern-day job creation and are essential in a post-pandemic economy. They also contribute significantly to global gross domestic product and other countries are doing their part to encourage SMEs. Israel (coined the “the start-up nation” by Dan Senor) has used ambitious culture and adversity to accelerate it’s position as a high-tech incubator.
Briefly, Israel’s public sector participated in government venture capitalism to promote innovation and entrepreneurial efforts. By 2000, a $100 million state owned initiative set in motion a cycle that created a thriving, independent venture capital market that was backing hundreds of startups.
While state backing is not always the defining factor in whether a country is promoting small-medium sized enterprises, in the US; 30 million SMEs account for nearly two-thirds of net new private sector jobs.
Often, SMEs must wear many hats. Finding and securing funding, protecting intellectual property before filing and getting a product to market is followed by avid brand policing and maintenance.
Funding a venture or innovation to promote more capitalism globally is one thing but protecting those innovations and ideas can vary depending on the country.
“SMEs face different challenges in different parts of the world, and how we help them will need to be customized to the needs of your part of the world. But it will be a powerful message for us to send the signal that together we will be supporting them,” WIPO Director General Daren Tang described in his video about World IP Day 2021.
In the US, there are a few boxes we must check to ensure protection of your SMEs IP:
· Auditing your intellectual property can ensure you know exactly what has potential for protection (and what does not) – This can be done before seeking counsel.
· SMEs must identify trade secrets and maintain them. You can read more about trade secrets on our blog.
· Competitive information must be guarded. Depending on the state, things like NDA’s can be helpful; but they only go so far. Ensure employees are following best practices for company information.
· Contracts must be in place so that staff is informed on their role in protecting IP.
SMEs are not only the backbone of the US, but the backbone of other countries around the world. If other places found it beneficial to invest in SMEs during adverse times, can brief public assistance encourage more start-ups to protect IP? Is it the key to restoring a pre-pandemic economic position?
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