Why Instruct Intellectual Property Specialists? Getting The Right Team
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur" - Red Adair. Why hire intellectual property specialists?
What is IP?
Intellectual Property (or “IP”) is another name for the intangible assets that are created in your business as part of your typical day-to-day work. For example, IP can include:
- the branding of your business and the products you offer;
- the designs created by your business;
- creative works;
- data, and;
- your own inventions.
For many businesses, IP is as valuable if not more valuable than its physical assets. For example, imagine if suddenly Nike could not call itself “Nike”, or put a “swoosh” on its shoes. It would cost them billions to re-establish their recognisable identity. These brands are protected worldwide through trade marks.
Now you may be thinking: "how I protect my Intellectual Property"? There are several intellectual property rights (IPRs). These can be registered or unregistered rights.
Trademarks, patents and registered designs are registered. You need to apply for these through the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). These registrations are quite complicated so you need to be careful to make sure your application meets the requirements in order to secure protection for exactly what it is that makes your idea unique.
The problem of visibility
How would you feel if you developed aground-breaking technology, but because you didn’t register a patent other companies are able to copy it?
The importance enough of securing your IP to save your businesses from being taken advantage by others cannot be stressed enough.
Often, as intangible assets are less visible businesses only protect themselves after the fact when they are in a less advantageous position.
Having your IP protected proactively means essentially your ideas are safe from being misused, allowing you to create unique selling points, and revenue streams for your business giving you the upper edge in the marketplace.
Because of this, it is very important that you do not do this on your own. Intellectual property law is a very complicated and unique area, so making sure that the law protects exactly what you need it to is very important. For this, you not only need a solicitor but ideally someone who is very experienced in IP in particular.
What is a Specialist?
A specialist is someone who has devoted a great amount of time and focus to gain knowledge in an area of expertise. They’re professionals in their job and know what’s best in terms of problems and solutions within that selected area.
Therefore, when it comes to facing issues you may be having you will always want a specialist to give you the best outline of action to take to help you through. As Red Adair said, “The only thing more expensive than hiring a professional, is hiring an amateur”.
A common misconception is that specialists cost more than generalists. However, in many cases, you actually end up spending less with a specialist as they will be able to solve your problem faster and with fewer errors. In addition, highly specialist work tends to be more valuable when it is finished. Consider some specialist woodwork – the value of the craft is something that remains in the piece once it has finished. Simply put, cheap does not always mean cheerful.
What is an IP Specialist?
This brings me to IP specialists. IP specialist solicitors (such as ourselves) are your best option when it comes to IP issues as with specialist knowledge and expertise they are able to identify and put in place solutions that are more legally strong and tailored to exactly what you need.
We have a number of specialists within our niche specialism of IP. Other IP specialist law firms may have their own.
Our areas of particular experience and expertise include: IP disputes, brand protection, international trade, IP strategy and IP commercialisation. As we are specialists in IP, we can help most businesses that are needing guidance in these categories as well as IP more broadly.
It is common for businesses to not have a clear understanding of the IP situations they find themselves in. Time, clarity and decisive action are very important.
That’s why IP specialists aim to make the situation clear and provide a tailored solution for you to follow which results in you saving time, money and resources.
Compared to generalist lawyers you might understand this as the equivalent of having a specialist tool to do a specialist job (e.g. a scalpel rather than a kitchen knife for surgery). Most IP work should be considered a specialist job – as it is its own unique area of law.
how can an IP specialist help you, and what can you expect?
You may be thinking you can deal with the situation yourself or instruct any old lawyer, but next thing you know you will have spent thousands on a patent or trade mark that actually offers you little to no protection over what is actually important to your business.
An IP specialist can spot problems before they damage your business, and put in place the relevant solutions.
There are many things that you can expect when instructing an intellectual property specialist as opposed to a generalist lawyer. Below are some of the expectations that we establish at Virtuoso Legal for our clients as IP specialists.
As a consequence of their expertise and experience, IP specialists are able to identify problems and opportunities faster than generalists. This means that solutions can be put in place at a faster rate, stopping damage to a business, or increasing incoming revenue – sooner rather than later.
IP specialists are highly familiar with the processes of the IP courts (e.g. IPEC and High Court) as well as those in the IPO (UK IPO, EUIPO, WIPO etc.) As such, they are far less likely to make mistakes which, when made by non-experts can often cost a lot of time and money. (E.g. a failed trade mark registration may put a business back 1 year. For a failed patent application, this could be incredibly damaging).
Greater familiarity with the highly technical and niche area of law means that IP specialists are able to give a clearer forecast of outcomes – with a broader set of options and solutions. This comes from experience as well as the ability to see the detail that generalists are unable to without help.
With expertise “in-house” IP specialists do not need to seek outside help from specialist barristers or lawyers to identify the best way forward. Often our specialists are contacted by generalist commercial firms to assist on matters which would have been better served by a specialist in the first instance. Barrister or consultant charges costs businesses extra, as the lawyers add this to be the bill. It is only in instances that are exceptionally technical that IP specialists need to seek or instruct outside help. You only have to go to one place for the answers.
The bottom line of all the above is that somewhat counter-intuitively – specialists are far more cost-effective than generalists when it comes to specialist areas of law such as IP.
Work is completed faster, with fewer mistakes, with less outside help and with a clearer view of commercial outcomes. In this sense, the “quality” of the work is higher and stands as a solid business investment – rather than a cheaper stop-gap to solve an issue in the short term (and which might lead to more problems in the long run).
In such areas of law, we advise that you seek a specialist. Should you see our firm as someone that you would like to speak to about a problem you’re facing or an opportunity you want to take advantage of, get in touch by clicking the button below.
ABOUT VIRTUOSO LEGAL?
Virtuoso Legal is a team of intellectual property specialists based in Leeds and London - operating worldwide.Virtuoso Legal's team of IP experts have successfully tried cases in the IPEC, High Court, Court of Appeals and United Kingdom Supreme Court. In addition, the team assist companies in creating, commercialising and protecting the big ideas that make their business unique. The firm and its professionals are ranked yearly in legal directories such as the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners, cementing their status as a Top 2% law firm in the world.
DISCLAIMER: The content within this post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Virtuoso Legal does not take any responsibility for those that use this information and waive any liability for any resulting effect on your personal or commercial circumstances. If you are experiencing an issue and need advice, we strongly encourage you to contact a solicitor to identify your best course of action.