IP-smart companies embrace the full array of tools for IP development and protection. Companies that want to plan for and establish every aspect of protection, including the establishment of trade dress, engage patent attorneys early in the process, not to handcuff the process but to help establish directions where there has been little innovation and IP protection. Regardless of how IP protection is pursued, companies today recognize that international protection of their IP is the best way to encourage and protect innovation from within.
Fundamentally, the reason IP is such an important part of the puzzle is that IP helps define and protect the brand. The technology innovation is protected by the utility patents; the style innovation is protected by the design patents; and the product’s identifier, color, package, and general presentation are protected by copyright, trademark, and trade dress, which together define and differentiate a product’s brand identity.