According to the French Patent and Trademark Office (INPI), France is the European champion in terms of trademark application, with 100,000 applications filed per year at the INPI. Conversely, the filing of patent applications is lagging in France, since only 15% of French SMEs protect their inventions. Nethertheless, owning intellectual property rights brings a clear advantage to innovative companies where markets have become more competitive.
So why protect your innovations?
Let’s find out some benefits below.
To protect your invention
The research & development phase is an expensive step in the innovation process. Even if filing a patent represents an additional cost, it is minimal compared to the competitive advantage it represents. It is also a good way to protect yourself from competition by claiming the results of your research and delimiting the field of your property.
To get a monopoly over its exploitation
The interest of the patent or the trademark is that it grants its owner a monopoly to exploit it for the entire duration of the protection: up to 20 years for a patent, provided that maintenance fees are paid (they are generally annuities) and indefinitely for trademarks, per ten-year periods. This means that during the entire duration of protection, no third party can manufacture, market or exploit such patent or trademark without being duly authorized by the owner. This is a strategic advantage that gives its owner one step ahead.
To improve your image
Patents show that the company invests in research and development to offer ever more innovative products to its customers. End-users will more easily trust a company or brand that clearly displays a patent pending on a product. In addition to the “innovative” aspect of which some people are very fond of, it is also the guarantee for the user not to purchase a counterfeiting product.
The same principle can be transferred to trademarks, since they contribute more and more significantly to the image of the products or services offered. Nowadays, it is also the way to show how a company is involved in certain social and responsible values, which can be very promising.
To be recognized
A trademark is a distinctive sign that can take many forms: a word, a logo, the association of a word and a logo, a sound, a slogan, a design, a smell, a series of in-motion drawings, etc.
It is the representation of the image of a company and its values in the eyes of the general public and makes it possible to increase awareness about its products or services and to distinguish them from those of competitors.
Yet, if a brand is not protected, then it can be filed and freely used by any one, including a potential competitor. Which will thus not only be able to prohibit the use of the original brand, but also to recover some of the customers who will legitimately believe that they are dealing with the same company.
To increase your income
Being the owner of trademarks or patents gives another advantage: since the company is the only one which can exploit the protected product or brand, it can choose to extract higher profits from it, either by taking advantage of its place in the market to increase prices, or by licensing such trademarks or patents and ensure regular incomes.
To gain value
Intellectual property is an intangible asset. As such, it can become part of the company’s assets and increase its value. As we have seen above, a well-protected patent or trademark is undoubtedly a competitive advantage which will prevent competitors from copying and marketing the original product for a certain period of time – or at least dissuade them from doing so – or enable to defend oneself against any attempts of counterfeiting.
In the event of seeking fundings, it is also an effective and credible means of reassuring banks and investors by showing them that the risk is limited, and thus increasing the value during negotiations.
It should also be noted that patents can also be contributed to the capital of the company.
Our firm Brandon IP, specialized in intellectual property, helps you in all the steps related to the strategy, filing, defense and valuation of your patents and trademarks.
Our partner Brandon Valorisation, specialized in valuation of innovation, supports you in your operation strategy and the valuation of your intellectual property.
Contact our teams to find out more.