Intellectual property: the basics

Advantages of protecting intellectual property


Intellectual property (IP) rights don't protect ideas or concepts. They protect genuine business assets that can be vital to your products or services, or the success and profitability of your business.

There are many advantages to securing your intellectual property rights. For example, protecting your IP can help you:

  • Enhance the market value of your business - IP can generate income for your business through licensing, sale or commercialisation of protected products or services. This can, in turn, improve your market share or raise your profits. In case of sale, merger or acquisition, having registered and protected IP assets can raise the value of your business.
  • Turn ideas into profit-making assets - Ideas on their own have little value. However, IP can help you to turn ideas into commercially successful products and services. Licensing your patents or copyright, for example, can lead to a steady stream of royalties and additional income that can boost your business' bottom line.
  • Market your business' products and services - IP is essential in creating an image for your business. Think trade marks, logos or the design of your products. IP can help you differentiate your products and services in the market and promote them to your customers.
  • Access or raise finance for your business - You can monetise your IP assets through sale, licensing or using them as collateral for debt financing. As well as this, you can use your IP as an advantage when applying for public or government funding, eg grants, subsidies or loans.
  • Enhance export opportunities for your business - IP can increase your competitiveness in export markets. You can use brands and designs to market goods and services abroad, seek franchising agreements with overseas companies, or export your patented products.

While some IP rights are automatic, others will need formal application and registration before you can claim them. Read more about the different types of intellectual property and the importance of protecting intellectual property.

You can also watch the Intellectual Property Office's video below that explains why IP is important to your business.

  • Invest NI Helpline
    0800 181 4422
  • IPO Information Centre
    0300 300 2000