Why protect yourself

The importance of protecting and enhancing intellectual property rights arises from a fundamental concept: competitiveness. Innovation, creativity, know-how, research, but also the aesthetic aspect of products as well as the attractive character of the trademarks: these are the factors which allow businesses to be competitive in a highly competitive market, which selects products on the basis of quality, such as the Italian and European markets. It happens increasingly frequently, for example, that in choosing a product consumers pay particular attention to its aesthetic appearance: think of the iPod phenomenon, for example. Other times, consumers are attracted principally by a product's trademark, as happens generally in the fashion market, where labels such as Armani, Versace, Gucci, Valentino and all the other brands at the forefront of Italian fashion have significant market share on the basis of the reputation which the respective companies manage to create, build and maintain over time. In other cases it is innovative technologies which are the principal factors in a company's success: just think of Google's exponential development or the global success of Facebook. Many other examples could be used as illustrations, but what needs to be emphasised is that – in order to safeguard investments in research, innovation and creativity (necessary for developing a company's business) – adequate protection is needed for the corresponding industrial property rights. Otherwise, the company could encounter considerable difficulty in reacting to any acts of counterfeiting.

For example, in the case where a strongly distinctive trademark (a so-called strong trademark) has been created and used with success to distinguish products and/or services, it is advisable to act well in advance of putting the products on the market, and even more so in advance of filing the application for national (or European) registration of the trademark, in order to avoid other parties (which may even include direct competitors of the business), being able to appropriate the mark, use it and possibly register it. All the more so in cases where a web page is being prepared at the same time in order to promote and offer the corresponding products on the web. Otherwise, if the selected trademark is not adequately checked through priority searches and protected through filing the application for registration, the result may be not only that the business does not have exclusive use of the mark, but also that there is a conflict with the prior rights of others, who have already used or registered the mark.

Adequate protection of industrial property rights can constitute the basis for the development of portfolios of titles capable of acting both as a means of attracting risk capital, and as a criterion for preference (together with others) over other businesses competing for eligibility and access to public funds (national or European) and bank finance. Innovative IP Finance tools, activated over industrial property rights of a certain size, may enable businesses holding them to access special sources of finance. For example, using IP Asset-Backed Securitization transactions, a business may be in a position to immediately monetise future income deriving from the exploitation of industrial property rights.





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