I do not need to tell you that every startup has to worry about competition. When it is possible arming yourself for the inevitable challenges you will face from other startups or more well entrenched incumbents is probably not a bad idea. For startups in the developing world intellectual property protection is not necessarily out of reach, and is even more important if there is a plan to distribute your product globally. Here are some links to get you started.
These links will take you to websites managed by government or multi-national agencies that deal with intellectual property issues.
- USPTO.gov – the United States’ Patent and Trademark Office
- IPO.gov.uk – the UK’s Intellectual Property Office
- WIPO – the World Intellectual Property Organization
These links will take you to websites of patent agents and other intellectual property service providers in the developing world. They’ll cost a fraction of what you might pay if you engaged an attorney in the US, Canada or the UK. Do your own research, I have personally never had the need to actually use any of the ones listed here, and there may be others I have not listed that you should consider. That said, I hope this gets you started.
- InvnTree – based in India, but will do work for clients from any part of the world.
- Intepat – based in India.
- B&R Latin America – based in Colombia.
- Gold Star Patents – based in South Africa.
- Sagacious Research – based in India.
- Global Legal Solutions – based in Mauritius.
Finally, these links will help you quickly learn about how to work with an IP service provider in order to ensure that you get the best value for your money.
- A Few Pointers on How to Review A Patent Application – from Russ Krajec, a patent attorney.
- How To Review a Patent Application – from Enterprise Partners Venture Capital.
- Instructions for Reviewing Your Patent Applications – from Fenwick and West LLP, courtesy of Stanford University.