Monday, October 21, 2019

MBA in a Nutshell #10 - Marketing : Marketing Mix - Product - IP Protection

Beyond product design and differentiation IP protection is important to protect your product.

As I never really wanted to AVOID being stereotyped as an IP Lawyer (because a lot of engineers who become lawyers do end up in IP law), so I did not take the full complement of IP law modules so I can't really do a decent article on this topic.

The book distinguishes three forms of IP protection in its marketing chapter:

a) Trademark

Trademarks distinguishes your product and service from others. You can follow the steps to register a trademark here, otherwise you can seek a remedy under common law via the law of "passing off" to protect an unregistered trademark (The TM symbol).

Registering a trademark is useful to bar other players from using it and also allows you to gradually build better brand recognition. Our government also makes it a point to provide generous tax rebates to businesses trying to register their trademark.

Upon registration a trademark is valid for a decade.

b) Copyright

An author has automatic copyright over his work. For published works, the copyright lasts for 25 years in Singapore. If a third party infringes your work that puts you on a disadvantage, you can sue this third party but remember that ideas cannot be copyrighted, only expression of ideas in tangible form.

c) Patents

You can patent something if it is new, involves an inventive step, and it is capable of industrial application. Many different kinds of patents exist.

Generally speaking, a patent lasts 20 years and the process of getting one can be tedious and expensive. Worse, applying for a patent basically means sharing information on it to the world at large. However, during this 20 years, you can sue anyone who uses your invention without your permission.

Beyond the basic copyright that I am entitled too, I probably do not need better IP protection right now. Maybe in about a year's time, as I come up with newer product offerings, I will re-examine this matter.

Perhaps a graduate diploma in NUS on IP Law may be in the horizon.


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