The concept of brand creation and protection has been around for a very long time. The Bourbon kings created their own very distinctive brand of royalty. Modern commercial brands are also based on the development of reputation and goodwill. In most countries this is protectable by the general law, but protection is substantially enhanced by the registration of a brand as a trade mark.
In 1914 this sort of folding camera was the height of newly patented technology. However protecting new technology has always been about more than just filing a patent. It involves an assessment of an invention’s new and inventive elements, what is already in the marketplace, how the product will be brought to market, the optimal method of commercialisation and a carefully thought out and implemented pathway to that end. It may be that patent protection is not the be-all and end-all and that a combination of secrecy and brand and/or design protection and making the most of “first mover advantage” is a better approach.
The development of telecommunications and broadcasting from the old days of a fixed copper wire connection and analogue broadcast signal into a converged world that is on-line and mobile has been revolutionary and intellectual property laws are really just starting to play catch-up. While we have all tried to translate real world legal concepts into this brave new world and with a certain amount of success, in some cases it is a bit like fitting round pegs in square holes.
It is no wonder that Baron Von Drais’s patented wooden bicycle with pedals on each wheel and a flat wooden crossbar was never really adopted other than by a few English postmen. Imagine the potential health and safety concerns and liability issues that would be faced these days by the good Baron, the manufacturer and the retailer?
Corporate IP Strategy & Diligence
These days companies both large and small need an intellectual property strategy. It is about getting your corporate house in order so that when it comes time for a purchaser or financier to do due diligence or for your company to enter into commercialisation arrangements, there is clear title to all intellectual property assets, they are valid and are held in an optimal way. A proper strategy will also define the way in which IP assets should be created and used by the business in future to ensure their integrity and that they retain their value.