Many California dreamers may imagine themselves facing a set of five celebrities as they pitch the perfect business concept, but the real-world lessons provided by ABC’s Shark Tank are applicable even for those who are not using the publicity of reality television to pursue their dreams. One of the key concerns of many of the celebrity investors is the risk of copying. While many concepts are presented that do not require the protection of intellectual property, some are more likely to be copied.
When copying is a concern, the celebrity investors of Shark Tank tend to question the entrepreneurs about the issue. Those who are typically successful at securing deals are often those who address this issue before the question can be asked by explaining that they either have secured a patent or have one pending. Using the platform of a popular reality show suggests that these investors care a great deal about intellectual property, but the reality is that this is a typical concern of non-celebrity investors as well. In fact, the issue of IP protection may be one of the main factors that encourages investors to front the money needed for a business to advance.
Intellectual property can include inventions, written material, software, trademarks, and media content such as music or video material. The protection of one’s intellectual property can vary based on the area of concern. Whereas some materials, including books and music, are considered protected upon creation in a fixed form, inventions can be more complicated. Not all inventions can be patented.
An intellectual property attorney may be helpful for an individual who is unsure about how to protect an invention. The attorney might be able to offer insight on the details about an invention that make it eligible or ineligible for a patent. In addition, the lawyer might be able to provide direction and support during the process of applying for a patent.