Why intellectual property rights need continuous updates
Although the most reliable way to determine when an intellectual property (IP) record needs updating is to seek the advice of an IP expert, generally, all material changes to intellectual property rights require updates.
Without a pre-existing knowledge of IP law, it is easy to question why IP records need these continuous updates. However, these updates aid in the fulfillment of the purpose of IP records, as well as avoiding potential difficulties for the owner of the rights, both current and future.
Aids in fulfilling the purpose
The purpose of IP records is to enable public awareness of the details of any existing intellectual property rights. This is so that both the public can recognize and respect IP rights, and so that competitors can know the parameters of these rights to avoid interferences.
Additionally, the records must contain up to date contact information, such as the owner’s name, address and contact details, to enable the relevant authorities to contact them. Third parties looking to enter into license agreements regarding the IP may also rely on these contact details to initiate conversations.
It is therefore of paramount importance that the details of any IP rights are continuously updated, as outdated information may mean that third parties looking to enter into a license agreement will not have the information they need to do so. The potential ramifications of losing out on this trade need not be further expressed.
Furthermore, outdated information will mean that the public and competitors are unaware of the full extent of the relevant rights, potentially leading to interferences.
Indeed, this failure to continuously update the changing details of IP rights may result in difficulties for the owner.
Avoids difficulties with existing rights
Outdated information about these rights may lead to an inability to correctly enforce them. An inability to determine the full nature of existing IP may mean that the protection these rights receive is diminished, and potentially even lost altogether, as they cannot be properly enforced.
Moreover, outdated details may also cause difficulties with existing license agreements or royalty payments. If the nature of IP rights has not been updated, then the owner may struggle to enforce any existing agreements, and goods can be seized at customs, if the details are inconsistent.
These scenarios represent unnecessary costs to the owner of intellectual property rights, as well as additional work to rectify them. At worst, these scenarios can lead to the owner losing the rights to their IP, losing their agreements or making substantial losses.
Avoids future difficulties
Inaccurately updated details can not only interfere with these existing rights but may also have an untoward impact on future projects. For example, discrepancies in IP records in some territories mean that new applications and even renewals can be rejected.
This outcome not only risks the potential loss of existing rights, if a renewal encounters difficulty but also can lead to substantial losses if a proposed application is denied.
In addition, failure to appropriately update details of rights can lead to office actions. These official warnings from national IP offices require that inconsistent details are updated within a matter of months. Although not a particularly serious issue, office action must be responded to, which in turn results in more work and expenditure.
In many territories, IP offices have time windows within which any changes in details must be updated. Failure to comply with these time-frames will result in the imposition of late fees, the value of which increases with time.
It is therefore incredibly beneficial to the owner of intellectual property rights to continuously update any necessary details, both in financial and protection terms. Failing to update records expediently can also result in lost opportunities, such as missed license agreements or denied applications for registration of new IP.
However, it is conceded that the continual maintenance of IP records and associated documents is complex. It is thus heavily advised that companies looking to ensure that their intellectual property rights are constantly updated seek the assistance of professional IP companies.
With specialists in traversing these arduous amendments, Brandstock’s recordals services can help you to maintain an organized and up to date portfolio. With the peace of mind that accompanies a well maintained IP record, you will be free to focus on other business concerns.