By Kevin Xu, CEO of MEBO International
So you have a great idea, and you want to build a business around it. That’s great! But how do you know when your idea is worth protecting from poachers?
First, you have to understand what intellectual property is. Intellectual property is any idea or product that is valuable to you or your company — an idea that defines you. As an entrepreneur, it is vital that you own and protect your unique ideas so others don’t steal them and claim your ideas as their own.
Intellectual property includes:
- Ideas that become a (marketing) reality.
- Inventions or products created.
- Artistic and written works.
- Images, symbols, and names.
- Trade secrets and secret formulas.
Your ideas and inventions are worth protecting. But how do you know when the time is right to move forward with protecting your intellectual property? Here are four ways to help you make that determination:
1. When different ideas have differing guidelines: For example, if you are a biotech company, you have to protect your technology (i.e., intellectual property) in the form of a patent within a year of the release of the information to the public.
2. When it’s time to seek investors: You can be proactive and protect your idea beforeyou raise funding from investors. Already having protected intellectual property will give investors more confidence in you and your idea.
3. When you have a short-term idea to disclose that may lead to a long-term product: When you start to plan short- and long-term goals for commercializing your technology, it’s time to protect the original idea or product first. But if you have a technology or idea you want to develop 20 years from now, you don’t have to disclose it yet.
4. When your secret formula or trade secret is at stake: When you realize your recipe or formulation can be easily stolen or reverse-engineered by others, it’s time to protect it!
How Do You Protect Intellectual Property?
My company holds the intellectual property related to organ regeneration technology. My father discovered, developed, and commercialized this, and we spent countless hours on fully protecting our scientific system called human body regenerative restorative science.
Our strategy for the intellectual property profiling and road map started with my father discovering the science. We first applied for the priorship of the patent. Then, we extracted different parts of the invention and turned those into individual patents.
Because our technology was solely invented by my father, it contained unique vocabulary and definitions, which we also protected by copyright. All of the scientific discoveries were painstakingly outlined and recorded by my father to show the ownership of discovery. Then, we trademarked these, which protected not only the logo, but also the terminology specific to our ideas.
As you can see, my company made it a priority to protect our ideas, our terminology, the science behind the ideas, and even our logo. Likewise, you need to be purposeful in protecting your intellectual property, or it could be stolen and your dreams snatched from you.
It’s crucial that you protect your ideas. It’s vital to your future, your subsequent ideas, and the posterity of your company. If you have an idea or invention that you think would be valuable, ask yourself, “Is my idea worth protecting?” If so, take care of it now.
Kevin Xu is the CEO of MEBO International, a California- and Beijing-based intellectual property management company specializing in applied health systems. He also leads Skingenix, which specializes in skin organ regeneration and the research and development of botanical drug products.