The Patent Blog, Live: a fun event !
Last night we had The Patent Blog, Live, a new kind of event where readers of this blog could meet me and ask questions. This was the posting advertising it.
Unfortunately Nigel Hanley of the UK IPO was unable to make it, so it was left to me to field questions on a variety of topics, which was followed by networking over wine. There were many questions and comments on marketing and developing your product, the role of patent attorneys, the different kinds of intellectual property, and confidentiality agreements.
Questions included, was it worthwhile worthwhile patenting a product ? Not necessarily, I suggested -- it may not be worth the cost and effort of getting a patent. First-mover advantage and/ or trade secrets may be best, especially for a novel product where you plan to get out in say six months.
I also suggested that trade marks are often the most valuable possession of an entrepreneur. Someone asked if you could register an image as a trade mark. Yes, I replied, but in my opinion it is best to use words as well or instead, as words and not images are easily searched for on Google (or asked for on the phone). Sometimes a domain name is best, especially if the brand you want describes the product or service, and you want to drive customers to your website (trade marks cannot purely describe the product or service). Think of the companies you see on TV whose sole intent is that you remember their website.
Obviously I couldn't give detailed answers in many cases. Just the same it was clear that those attending found it a fun and stimulating event. I certainly did, as I was kept busy all evening.
Something that was appreciated in the networking was our offer of free "one to one" meetings where anyone can meet with one of our staff to discuss their ideas. The relevant intellectual property is explained, and suggestions made for their business plan (I always emphasis the value of business plans, including financial projections). This is meant for early-stage businesses only. Requests can be made through our information clinics page.