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Intellectual Property protection for startups

In a world in which innovation and inventions drive progress, it is hard for young and innovative companies to be fast and innovative on the one hand, but at the same time still follow the rules of the "old" established business world. A few advices can be extremely helpful for startups in order to navigate their business through shallow and treacherous waters and protect the Intellectual Property which they create.

Teaching others how to overcome issues that could potentially harm their business, is just as important as innovation itself. Helping startups to evolve into successful companies pumps new blood in the world’s economy and could potentially create numerous jobs and new avenues for progress.

That is why on 30 May 2017 the Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg (IBCL) was host for an evening conference entitled "Intellectual Property for Startups" at the Casino Luxembourg - InfoLab. The event was moderated by Martin Guerin, CEO of Nyuko (a startup accelerator and community), and saw presentations held by Stéphane Speich and Olivier Lombardo, representing Dennemeyer & Associates (official sponsor of the event), Rohit Kumar, representing Research Wire, and Serge Quazzotti, representing the IPIL.

The theme of the conference was “IP for startups in practice: Panel discussion with startups” and among the people invited to attend were individuals and companies from Nyuko’s network as well as from the network of the startup incubator Lux Future Lab.

Goals and objectives

As the name implies, a startup is a generally a newly launched company that doesn’t have a lot of experience in how to run its business. That is why they need all possible help to become a success story. Nevertheless, our previous experience taught us that startups/entrepreneurs have a lot of preconceived ideas about IP, so it was time to lay to rest some of these clichés, namely:

  • IP is secondary: “My money and effort are worth being invested in business development and there is no risk in not protecting my IP”
  • IP is expensive: “I don’t have much money and I am not willing to spend it in IP, I have other expenses which are much more important”
  • IP is complicated: “So many IP rights with different fields of protection, I don’t know where and when to start with IP protection”

Dennemeyer advises startups on how important IP is right from the creation stage and how beneficial it could be for their growth in the near future. Most startups are not focusing on innovative products, but rather on innovative services (applications, software, or sharing economy). Innovative services, however, are hard to protect and the available options are limited and far from being perfect.

The below checklist is meant to give a first impression of the basic steps startups should consider when starting to protect the most valuable asset they have: their IP. 

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