Investing in Intellectual Property: The entrepreneur’s conundrum

Investing in Intellectual Property: The entrepreneur’s conundrum

In last week’s Entrepreneurship 101 session, MaRS welcomed a panel from Gilbert’s LLP who discussed the complex topic of intellectual property (IP). Litigator Nathaniel Lipkus, patent agent Matthew Powell and lawyer and trademark agent Ashlee Froese all have experience working with entrepreneurs and spoke in detail about the various facets of the topic, including patents, trademarks and managing IP.

Just as there are rules to protect the theft of personal property, there are also rules in place to protect ideas. These rules, however, are applied quite differently than those that protect tangible property and they are not always intuitive.

The panel discussed the individual considerations of the five types of IP: patent, trademark, copyright, design and trade secret.

Depending on your startup, it may or may not be necessary to seek IP protection, but it is important to have enough knowledge to be able to differentiate between the different types of IP and to decide whether any are suitable for your business.

If you decide that obtaining IP rights is suitable for your business, it often creates a dilemma: do you put your cash into product and business development or do you put it into an IP lawyer? Most entrepreneurs know that protecting ideas and products is important, but when cash is limited and you’re eager to launch your venture, IP protection may not always be the top priority.

The panel helped explain which situations require IP and how bootstrapping entrepreneurs who are looking to protect their innovative ideas can keep costs down.

To hear the experts’ tips and to learn more about how IP can help you protect your business, watch the lecture video below.

Produced by MaRS Media.

Next lecture: Business Model Canvas on Wednesday, November 27, 2013


This past week we also launched the Up-Start! Competition. To review the details of the competition and information on how to apply, check out our slides.

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