I’m Shireen Smith, a lawyer who supports businesses to identify, defend and protect their intellectual property. After a career working for large organisations, including as an inhouse lawyer at Reuters, I founded Azrights, which is a boutique intellectual property law firm in London and Hastings. Since then I’ve worked with hundreds of clients from start-ups through to large multinationals with over £300 million in turnover.
For business leaders responsible for intellectual property
Are you in charge of addressing the intellectual property needs of your organisation? Does the buck stop with you? Do you want to ensure the foundations of your business are solid, and that the value of your IP accumulates and increases as you grow in success? Are you keen to avoid failure of your projects through inappropriate treatment of intellectual property?
Then you’ll want to find out why adopting an “IP First” approach is the key to managing your organisation’s IP successfully.
An IP First approach is key
Soon after starting Azrights, I noticed that small businesses often didn’t appreciate how to address IP or remember to deal with IP in the early stages of their projects. People were commonly creating IP, and then hitting problems down the line. All because they hadn’t realised that “IP protection” involves considering IP first. IP needs to be thought about up front at the start of projects.
For example, it’s about doing certain due diligence checks before adopting new IP, particularly names, or using the right agreements when initiating projects. None of this needs the involvement of a lawyer, and it’s often quite impracticable to bring lawyers on board so early on anyway.
I wondered how to give my clients the right insights and tools so they would know what to do when designing their projects.
Why IP advice is not the answer
I realised it’s impracticable, and expensive for businesses to take IP advice in advance every time they have a new project. In practice, IP tends to be relegated to the “too difficult” or “too expensive” box because of this.
I wondered how to solve this problem and give access to early IP input affordably. Whether a project involves a big idea or is simply a new routine initiative, as new IP is constantly being created, it’s important to take the right steps when developing ideas. If IP isn’t considered first there are often serious consequences. 80% of IP protection is determined by early actions and decisions.
Although I wrote two books, Legally Branded and Intellectual Property Revolution to support businesses to know the right actions and decisions to take, I realised that books were not the answer.
Books are not the answer either
The problem was how to make it easy for a business to readily act upon intellectual property insights. It’s all well and good to read about IP best practice, but I wanted people to have the essential advice they needed right at the time they needed it, which is whenever they introduce new ideas.
The problem I wanted to solve was firstly how to provide this guidance and input in an affordable way, and secondly how to make the information more accessible and memorable so it would be easy to implement.
Processes are the answer
I hit upon an idea and am really excited to have created Legally Branded Academy 2.0 which is the world’s first process based IP management solution.
The way to run a better business is to have processes. Well, now there is a process for IP.
Using processes embedded with IP best practice, advice, and education enables organisations to address IP. It’s possible to train team members, assign responsibilities, and protect IP seamlessly. The processes flag up whether there is a need to consult a lawyer and why.
Legally Branded 2.0 for an international audience
What’s more, it is relevant to an international audience as it is not a law course. Instead, the accent is on identifying IP and applying processes to manage the IP in question in the various situations that people encounter during the early stages of their projects. Nor is this about replacing lawyers. You still need lawyers to help you to register your rights or to provide additional input.
But it replaces the need for expensive one to one advice as the way to get initial early days help during projects.
This is a new approach to IP management which enables IP protection to be available to every organisation.
IP is part and parcel of business. IP at this level is business savviness. Every business needs to know how to make better decisions that are in its long term interests.
For more information about Legally Branded Academy 2.0 see here.
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