Before referring to the link between both concepts, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of what Intellectual Property is. In very general and elementary terms we can say that Intellectual Property is the legal discipline that is in charge of protecting all the creations of human talent and is divided into two branches: Industrial Property and Copyright. The knowledge of what it entails can undoubtedly help any entrepreneur, small, large or medium, to make his company, business or enterprise more competitive in the market and to manage in a good way the risks that it may face in the world of the consumer public.
Thus, it can be stated that the Intellectual Property system has a really important role in distinguishing products and services from others of the same nature in the market, increasing their visibility in that market, having knowledge of the origin and the product offered, and avoiding the risk of unintentionally using third parties' information as well as infringing third parties' rights.
Referring briefly to the figures of intellectual property and its importance within a company or business, it can be deduced that, if the entrepreneur has an innovative product or process or presents an improved product, service or process, he can protect it through a patent right, which will undoubtedly give him a competitive advantage. The right conferred by the patent allows him to defend himself within the market from the competition and thus, to occupy a better position in the market.
When the entrepreneur or business owner does not apply for industrial privilege or patent on his idea or new system, the law allows him to resort to another important figure of Industrial Property such as Trade Secrets. In that sense, it is also of vital relevance that the entrepreneur at the time of positioning himself in the competitive space, protects the precise and specific details of the products that may refer to the technological knowledge and all the essential information, part of his strategy through the trade secrets and thus maintain his competitive position in the market. Keep in mind that the theft, exploitation and disclosure of all this information can, from any point of view, undermine the advantage on which the entrepreneur or business owner has worked, depriving the company of its competitiveness and causing the corresponding economic damage.
The figure that is most taken into account in Intellectual Property is undoubtedly that of the TRADEMARK, which allows consumers to differentiate the products and services of the company or business owner from other competitors, ensuring with this differentiation a constant quality. Here it is necessary to emphasize that it is important for the businessman to be very careful when choosing or building his trademark, so that it is not later attacked by similar trademarks that distinguish the same products or services in the market. Moving on to other figures or forms of Intellectual Property, we have the INDUSTRIAL DESIGN, which refers specifically to the aesthetic or ornamental part of a product. This design gives the businessman another way to distinguish his product from the competitors and thus be able to position himself in a better way in the market. It should be noted that a design, which complies with much more attractive characteristics, is in the full capacity to gain a better positioning, reaching a greater number of demanding consumers who seek to acquire much more diversified products.
A company, likewise, and more so now that it is handling enormous digital content, must take into account that the material it creates by itself or through employees working with the object of copyright protection. Let us bear in mind that, although the copyright arises with the creation of the work, in order to be able to enforce it before third parties, it must have the corresponding registration.
It should be taken into account that the same product may be protected by different forms of Intellectual Property Rights and that they constitute a very important tool to reinforce your competitive advantage and obtain a strong positioning in the market.
In addition to having Intellectual Property protected, it is worth mentioning that the entrepreneur or business owner must conduct an audit to determine what type of intellectual property exists in his company. To do so, he/she must have a business plan with a strategy for the exploitation of Intellectual Property and review it periodically. This strategy will allow you to monetize and take advantage of Intellectual Property assets to obtain financing from banks and potential investors interested in the idea or business object in question. Thus, including Intellectual Property in the business plan can help the entrepreneur to obtain the necessary funds to execute what is planned or to expand the plans and objectives of the company or business.
The entrepreneur or business owner should bear in mind that IP rights can only be enforced in the country or region in which they have been registered. Prior to expanding activities to other countries, it is advisable to obtain the necessary rights to be able to maintain a competitive market position in foreign markets.
As a reflection, I take this opportunity to call the attention of society as a whole so that authorities whose mission is to watch over and protect property in Bolivia, promote awareness and education measures among entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, implementing the relevant educational measures in schools, colleges and universities, with the firm purpose that society as a whole, assimilates and is fully convinced of the importance of watching over Intellectual Property, which is present in all the activities of our daily life.