5 Steps Small Businesses Must Take To Protect Their IP

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5 Steps Small Businesses Must Take To Protect Their IP

It is a common misconception that protecting Intellectual Property (IP) is the realm of large businesses with vast portfolios rather than small and medium businesses. The fact is that regardless of their size, the protection of IP is of supreme importance to every successful business.   

There are several reasons for protecting IP – to safeguard products & services, deter competition, and create new avenues of revenue – all of which apply to any business, whether they are big or small. Given their limited resources, the domain of IP protection often  gets overlooked for short-term gains and profits. But this could prove a grave mistake for the growth and success of the business.   

Below are 5 steps that every SME must incorporate into their business strategy in order to protect and profit from their IP assets: 

Table of Contents

Understanding IP  

The scope of IP is not limited to unique inventions but extends to your products, packaging, branding, website, business processes and any other creations of the mind that are unique to your intellectual property small business. For example, the jewellery company Tiffany has registered its signature blue packaging colour as a trademark. Identify the distinct USPs of your business that give you an edge over your competitors, and seek IP options like trademarks, patents, trade secrets, and defensive publications. Even something like a domain name is worth protecting! 

First Mover Advantage 

The new IP rules followed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office favour the first-to-file, unlike the previous system of first-to-invent. This means that the first person to apply for a patent reserves the right to be granted one, regardless of the date of the actual invention. In such a scenario, it becomes imperative to either disclose an invention or apply for a patent in order to remain ahead of the competition. Since patent filing is a long, expensive, and arduous process, the first natural step for SMEs should be to resort to a defensive publication. It is a fast and cost-effective way to establish prior art and prevent competitors from applying for or receiving a patent. 

Thinking Ahead 

The purpose of any business is to grow and expand into a profitable entity. While your business may be at a nascent stage and limited to a small geographical area right now, the future could be different. With social media, e-commerce websites, and other online channels, businesses can expect their reach to increase exponentially. This makes it important to seek national/international protection for your product or ideas in order to be able to reap the benefits this opportunity could bring.    

Building Value 

Owning IP helps a business in multiple ways – one of which is adding value to your brand. It lends credibility that helps attract investors and customers. It also opens up additional avenues of monetization, such as licensing, which provide a steady source of income over the years.   

Seeking Professional Help 

The IP landscape is fraught with challenges that are best left to experts to tackle. While allocating a budget for a specialized firm may seem to eat up into your finances, it is a wise step in the long run. The benefits of having the legal advice of a professional team by your side far outweigh the cost accrued. Not only can such firms help you in successfully applying for a patent but also apply their wide experience towards other IP-related issues. 


There are several challenges associated with securing and safeguarding IP for small businesses. These range from limited funds, lack of time, fewer employees, etc., which are just minor blips if you look at the larger picture. The trick lies in overcoming these barriers and building a secure portfolio, which will help bring in future gains as well as protect the interests of the business at large. And therein lies the foundation that every business needs in order to grow and thrive.   

About TTC

We’ve constantly identified the value of new technology carried out by our pretty skilled executive crew with backgrounds as our professionals. Like the IP professionals we empower, our starvation for development is never-ending. We IMPROVISE, ADAPT, and IMPLEMENT in a strategic manner.

TT Consultants offers a range of efficient, high-quality solutions for your intellectual property management ranging from

and much more. We provide both law firms and corporations in many industries with turnkey solutions.

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