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Millions of SMEs and startups fail every year because they have weak or non-existent Intellectual Property (IP) strategy.

Millions of SMEs and startups around the world have poor internal management practices and lack knowledge of what IP regimes offer. These two factors do not only affect business growth and expansion, but also kill business.

SMEs and startups must take their IP seriously.

Whether your startup has been operating in less than a year or more than 5 years, experience has shown that most startups fail to take their IP seriously. It’s either these startups are unaware of what IP really means to their business or they are putting IP at the bottom of their budgets, chasing marketing and technology.

I don’t think that’s wise. IP means everything to your startup. If you understand what IP really means to you, it’s all you’ve got! From the business model you have developed for your startup to the branded products and services you sell; from the technology you acquire, develop, or use for your startup to the partners you leverage, IP is at the heart of them all. So why mess with your IP?

Below are 4 observations by the Organization for Economic Development (OECD) about how SMEs mess with their IP:

1. SMEs are often too driven by short-term thinking because they want to secure immediate commercial advantage from their investments, thus less concerned with the strategic use of their intellectual assets;

2. SMEs fail to adapt their operating practices and resources to current regulatory landscapes;

3. SMEs lack the finance and skilled manpower to manage their IP for adequate protection; and

4. SMEs have difficulties managing the large (and increasing) IP-related information flows, leading to an ad hoc approach on IP issues.

Are you one of the 8 startups out of 10 that are messing with their IP? Do you have an IP strategy for your SME or startup? Does your IP strategy integrate your business strategy? Stop taking avoidable risk.

Get the right IP strategy for your startup today.

To succeed in today’s highly competitive market, your SME or startup must have a comprehensive IP strategy for acquiring, exploiting, monitoring, and enforcing IP. This will help your SME or startup take full advantage of their IP assets.

Written by Senator Iyere Ihenyen, Lead Partner, Infusion Lawyers. Read more about Developing IP Strategy for SMEs’ originally published by Nigerian Law Today.

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