"Only branding or patenting? A supremely important question which is not always easy to answer. Here are my tips on "Intellectual Property" – find your best solution!"
1. What is IP - and what do I get out of it?
Do not confuse it with "IP address": Intellectual Property (IP) is the protection of
your intellectual services against the illegitimate transfer of third parties. Mostly,
this happens through licensing: trademarks, patents, design or copyright. For many
startups, IP is often the only asset that is legally detectable. Your protection of IP is
therefore also investment protection.
2. Do I need protection for IP?
Well, hard to tell in general... Whether you need protection for IP depends on your
core product and your business model. If it is based on its own technical developments,
patenting should, in any case, be taken out. If, on the other hand, an idea or a new
business model is at the center, your brand will be the driving success factor. Their
protection is always a good idea: the brand generates the goodwill on the market, and
should be protected for every startup - regardless of the industry.
3. Brand and patent - how does it all work together?
Market entries are rather cheap, patenting can be expensive in the medium term.
The patent provides protection for the technical result itself. The registered trademark
protects the label, not the product itself - others can launch a similar product, but must
use a different brand. However, brand protection often leads to a strong competitive position.
4. How exactly does the brand and patent construction work?
A great gift for geeks, gamers, or anyone with a computer. Decide whether your
product brand should have the same name as your company. Afterwards, the brand
first enters the Swiss commercial register, then the trademark registers - to check
that it has not yet been issued.
When you have made an invention, create a folder and compile the most important
documents, with the most accurate description of your invention. And, as hard as it is,
it unfortunately is really important: keep the invention secret until everything is fixed!
Also central: How new is all this really? Do research in the technology field of your
invention. Here, you can download various free online databases such as ESPACENET,
PATENTSCOPE, or GOOGLE PATENTS.
You put it all together? Excellent! Go to the IGE in Bern, which offers
accompanied patent research, or directly to a patent attorney. He will be able to tell you
whether an investment in patenting is worthwhile.
5. What do I do with a patent?
In an early phase, a pending application provides you with a good starting point for
discussions with investors. They see that protection is planned and can thus also
examine the potential of the invention on an objective basis. After the initial registration,
you have one year to raise funds that allow an international extension of the patent.
6. How long do I have time?
Is it only about the brand? Then, everything is easy! In trademark law, a startup can
start a lot by itself. In a later phase of the company, brand protection can still be
improved, if necessary. This is different for patents. If one starts with errors, like early
pre-releases, incorrect descriptions, awkward or too narrow patent claims, the patent
is probably lost forever. Many fail with a patent because their invention
is not new, or was already published before the filing date. A brand specialist is recommended,
for the development of the brand and its protection (but not all too necessary, with a little
training). The patent attorney will be almost indispensable for a patent.
7. Some last tips
"What's the point?" Document the core of your business idea and product development
right from the start - it also helps you gain a clear understanding of what you want on the
Put together all the important documents of your business model, arrange them and
summarize your business idea and your product on one page.
Keep these documents secret for the time being - and, if possible, have them certified
by a notary as a work result.
Create a shortlist of three to five of your favorite brand ideas. Try to choose the best in
the startup phase, depending on the results of your research.
Register the brand as early as possible. Once the priority is backed up, some, if not all,
can be optimized later.
But most importantly: Stay cool - together, we will make it. You can always ask me stuff
at any time!
Questions? Just chat with me at the bottom right-hand side!