1. Your innovation is a valuable asset
To ensure that your invention or creation continues to belong to your start-up and that others don’t use it without your permission, you can register it in Switzerland with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI). This protection will grant your start-up an exclusive right, which can be enforced in the event of a dispute.
2. Ask yourself what should be protected – and how
Start-ups can file technical inventions (patents), product names (trade marks) and the shape of objects (designs) with the IPI to protect them from being copied. Artistic works and software (copyright) are automatically protected from the moment they are created and no registration is necessary.
3. When it comes to patents, silence is golden
Keep your invention secret until you have applied for a patent. If you make your invention publicly known in any way before then, you can no longer protect it. An invention is only new as long as nobody knows about it. This is one of the basic requirements for patent protection.
4. Dealing with knowledge: inform your employees
As the start-up founder, you should inform your team about protecting the company’s IP. It should be clearly stated in writing what may and may not be shared with external parties. This also applies for smaller ideas that are not worth patenting but which are valuable trade secrets nonetheless.