Posted by Nadia Haddad.
Throughout the article, “Intellectual Property,” the author Darren Dahl talks about four different common fallacies that small business is unaware. The two most precious resources for any small business owner are time and money. Small business owners believe that it is not worth the time or effort to secure intellectual property rights. A patent can cost up to $25,000 to secure, in comparison to trademarks and Web addresses, which are cheap and can be obtained with the help of a lawyer.
In one case, Daniel Lubetzky, chief executive of New York City, Kind Snacks, heard that one of his competitors had copied the packaging, look, and feel of his bars. Lubetzky had secured components for his property like trademarks, trade dress, and Web addresses after founding his company. Mr. Lubetzky sent a competitor that was stealing his IP a cease-and-desist letter in order to stop the offender.
The above example stresses the erroneous belief that “once I get a trademark, my brand is safe.” In another case, Tracey Deschaine, who runs a restaurant called Dixie Picnic in Ocean City, N.J., secured trademarks, logo and name of her signature item, cupcakes. Even though she had trademarks for her business, someone else was monitoring the activity on the United States Patents and Trademark Office’s website and her spotted her application. They secured the Web address, or URL, before she could. This shows that, just because you have a trademark, it does not mean you are completely protected.
The third topic mentioned was about how “having a patent gives me the right to produce something.” What a patent does is gives you the right to prevent someone else from producing what your patent covers. Mr. Kocher of Cryptography Research says, “having a strong IP position helps ensure that other pay you for your innovation like they would on a toll on a road.” (Dahl).
Another fallacy mentioned is “If I have a patent or trademark in the United States, I don’t need to worry about the rest of the world.” In some countries, like Japan, it is expensive to acquire patents. The author suggested when deciding what your international IP strategy should be, consult a lawyer, and conduct some cost-benefit analysis to see if expanding your IP rights makes proper sense.
The last fallacy the article states “people who collect patents but don’t actually make anything are ‘patent trolls.’” In many cases, companies invent something, obtain a patent, and license it out for manufacturing by another. An example described was how a patent for wireless e-mail delivery held by NTP, a small holding company, something that R.I.M eventually would pay millions of dollars to license from them. The problem with this was NTP was trying to enforce its patent when it did notmake any products itself from the beginning.
Nadia is a business administration major with a minor in international business at Montclair State University, Class of 2016.