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One of the most common errors founders make is divulging critical details about their innovation before obtaining proper IP protection. While sharing your invention’s brilliance is natural, it can inadvertently render it unpatentable. In the eyes of patent offices, any public disclosure can jeopardise your chances of securing exclusive rights.

Example: Imagine a tech startup unveiling groundbreaking software at a conference without filing a patent application. Competitors might seize the opportunity to replicate the idea, leaving the inventor without any legal recourse.

2. Pitch Decks: Balancing Enthusiasm with Caution
Founders are known for their passion and conviction when pitching their ideas to potential investors or partners. However, sharing overly detailed information without non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can lead to IP vulnerabilities.
Example: A biotech startup excitedly presents proprietary data to potential investors without NDAs. Later, they discover a competitor has used the data to expedite their research, leaving the startup unable to safeguard their innovation.

3. Research Publications: Mind the Timing
Publishing research findings is a cornerstone of innovation, but timing is critical. Publishing before filing a patent application can lead to a loss of patent rights in some jurisdictions.

Example: An academic researcher publishes a breakthrough discovery in a prestigious journal before seeking patent protection. They later find out that their own publication has invalidated their ability to patent their invention.

4. Public Use and Sales: The Grace Period Myth
Some founders wrongly assume that they have an automatic grace period to file for a patent after publicly using or selling their invention. Unfortunately, this misconception can lead to a loss of patent rights in many jurisdictions.

Example: A startup manufactures and sells a revolutionary device in small quantities before pursuing a patent. However, the grace period is not applicable in their jurisdiction, resulting in the loss of patentability.

How to Safeguard Your IP While Going Public:
Consult IP Professionals: Engage with patent attorneys early in your innovation journey to understand the best practices for protecting your IP without hindering growth.

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): When sharing your innovation with third parties, consider using NDAs to ensure the confidentiality of your IP.
File Provisional Patents: If you’re not ready for a full patent application, consider filing a provisional patent to establish a priority date while you continue refining your invention.

Timing is Key: Prioritise filing patent applications before any public disclosures or publications related to your innovation.

Global Considerations: Remember that IP laws vary by jurisdiction. What’s safe in one region may not be in another.

Founders, in their fervour to change the world, can sometimes overlook the legal intricacies of IP protection. By staying vigilant and seeking expert advice, you can avoid these common pitfalls and safeguard your innovation’s rightful place in the world of intellectual property.

Safeguard your brilliance – because innovation deserves protection.


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