Guest post by Robert Cantrell
The introduction of IP to any given product solution should have, as a reason, to make the product solution somehow more saleable than it would be without the IP. This means that the product solution should be somehow better, faster, or less expensive than the product solution would be without the IP, or, in the case of a brand, that the product solution will have an emotional appeal stronger with the brand than without it. It is never enough, therefore, to develop IP without having in mind how it will be sold to individual customers. You cannot know otherwise, for illustration, that IP you protected that allows a product solution to deliver some benefit faster than the previous state-of-the-art model will actually matter to an end user at the point of sale, especially if the improvement drives up the cost to the customer; or if a present improvement does not matter to most customers logically, then it can be made to matter emotionally – in the spirit of why people may want to own the latest pad, car, or camera when their current model performs well enough.
While not a black and white delineation, when improving a saleable benefit, patent, trade secret, and copyright IP will tend to focus on the logical improvements of a saleable benefit, while brand and trademark IP will tend to focus on the emotional appeal. It is never enough to have one without the other – the IP strategy should account for how to protect the logical reasons why a product solution is better, faster, or less expensive than other options at the point of sale and also protect aspects of the product solution that make it emotionally appealing to own. Understand the comparative advantages and disadvantages of the product solution for which your IP is a part and build your IP strategy accordingly.
Image credit: s_falkow