World IP Day 2024: Supporting Creativity, Sustainability and Innovation of the Future

26 April 2024

By Wayne Bryant, Digital Cluster Programme Manager

Intellectual Property (IP) Day 2024 gives us the opportunity to shine a light on the importance IP has when it comes to supporting creativity, sustainability, and innovation for the future.

This year’s World Intellectual Property Day focused on celebrating those who are using innovation and intellectual property to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

IP plays a central role in achieving this ambitious goal on a global level. In the North East, Innovation SuperNetwork works with partners to ensure businesses have access to the tools, insight and specialist support they need to be part of this world-wide mission to drive innovative solutions to carbon reduction and sustainability goals.

Having worked with countless businesses to protect and ensure their IP assets, I know this journey can often be a challenging one. I believe it is important to make sure businesses have the access to the right support, especially for those who haven’t protected or secured any IP in the past. those producing these innovative solutions should be rewarded for their novel ideas and original creations, and it is our job to give them the skills they need to do this.

For the North East, awareness of how to protect your Intellectual Property also supports the future innovation of our region. We are at the centre of some of the most ground breaking activity surrounding national and global sustainability goals, and through my work with business IP I recognise the importance of helping our businesses and organisations understand the crucial role defining their IP has on the future of Net Zero. By encouraging businesses to understand, develop and register their IP, we can create the conditions they need to develop new solutions as a leading region in this sector.

What is intellectual property?

Most businesses, no matter the size, will own or use IP at some point during its life cycle. For innovative businesses, understanding how IP can be managed and utilised as a tangible asset, can set them apart from their competitors.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation defines intellectual property as

“…creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce”

IP can account for over 70% of your business’s worth and be one of the most valuable assets you own. IP is protected by law, so by registering it, you can gain the recognition and potential financial benefits of your creation. This allows you to confidently use your sustainable discoveries for good, whilst also being clear about who it belongs too.

Intellectual Property can largely be categorised within the following five categories

  • Copyright
  • Trademark
  • Patent
  • Design
  • Trade Secrets

Understanding how these relate to your own Intellectual Property is important from the outset, and regular review of your Intellectual Property position can be instrumental to realising growth at pace and scale.

IP and your business

Understanding your IP position and protecting your assets can help your business in countless ways. This is important of the innovation journey, and beyond protecting your ideas, Intellectual Property can enhance your business in other ways, such as;

  • Defining your brand

For any start up, getting your brand defined is a big first step on your business journey. By making sure your identity is protected by IP, you can double down on who you are and what you stand for, making for a successful launch.

Registering your brand with Companies House is a great first steps. But there is a misconception that it will provide you with automatic protection. By trade marking your brand you can be sure you have the rights to your image straight away. Trademarks offer an audience the promise of quality, letting them know they will receive the same service every time. It can prevent others using your brand identity and give you the legal right to object to their usage.

  • Reassuring investors

By patenting your innovative design, not only are you gaining legal recognition for your work, but you are also creating reassurance for those who have invested or will invest in your business This makes your business look stronger and more profitable, which is always important to investors. Technologies and ideas related to sustainable practices are often new and unknown, so through patenting your idea, you can confirm it has met certain requirements to gain legal Protection.

  • Protecting product design

Protecting what your technology or product looks like can be a huge competitive advantage. This will allow you to have the rights to the exact design and style of your work, which means any other business looking to do something similar will have to work harder to produce new elements. By doing so, you get the advantage of being the first on the scene, whilst also strengthening your reputation

  • Accessing support and advice

The North East is home to a host of unique and varied Net Zero opportunities, and the businesses based here are doing world-leading innovative work. Innovation SuperNetwork has worked with countless Net Zero businesses, and those who are looking to make socially and economically sustainable impacts on the world around them. We understand that each business is unique in the support they need, so our varied team of experts are on hand to provide you with sector specific guidance and advice

Our work within the Net Zero cluster has allowed us to enable conversations and provide support to businesses developing their ideas. This includes access to funding for North of Tyne businesses in the Net Zero North East England’s priority sectors (such as transport, energy, housing, water waste and pollution)

This guidance includes one-to-one advice and group workshops on topics such as understanding IP for your business, with the aim to provide SMEs with support to develop strategy, innovation, and transparency around environmental and social impact goals.

Are you looking to take the next steps for your business? Contact us now to find out how we can help you: https://supernetwork.org.uk/contact/

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