I have an idea
Is your idea new?
Check whether other people have come up with the same idea as you. Before investing a lot of time and money in developing and protecting your idea, it makes good sense to check whether other people already have rights linked to something equivalent.
Search the Norwegian Industrial Property Office Search Service for trademarks, designs or patents. You can find out whether others have applied for, or been granted, rights to something similar to your idea. To obtain a patent your idea must be new. A similar product or application known somewhere else in the world, can prevent you from getting a patent. You cannot check this in our Search Service, however you can take a look at these free international databases.
Order a preliminary search. We will conduct a thorough check for you. If you have come up with a suitable name for the company or for a new product, you should check whether the name is already registered as a trademark.
Domain name: Check also whether the name has been registered as a domain name. You can use "NameSearch", a website which makes it simple to check whether domains, company names and trademarks are available - all three in one search. You can also check Norid's website.
Company name: Check also whether the name has already been registered as a company name. You can use "NameSearch", a website which makes it simple to check whether domains, company names and trademarks are available - all three in one search. You can find this out by using our "Namecheck" app or by checking at the Brønnøysund Register Centre.
Where is your market, and who are your customers?
Even if your idea is both good and new, it does not necessarily have commercial potential.
To earn money from your idea you first have to study the market. You have to assess whether there is a need for the product or service, and whether it has good prospects of competing successfully with others.
- Is the technology forward-looking, so that it will be viable in a few years' time?
- What is the market willing to pay for the product?
- Which markets will you aim at, where you will you produce the product and how will you distribute it?
- How will you make the product known in the market, and who are your competitors?
- What are the benefits of your product compared with your competitors' products?
- Will you be going it alone, or will you need partners to cooperate with?
There are many questions needing answers, and you need to develop a strategy to work in a structured and targeted way.
Innovation contributes to safeguarding assets, creating assets and avoiding wrongly targeted investments in development and innovation processes. It is important to think about how the intangible assets and rights will be managed and refined. A well thought-out strategy for this can give your business an important and lasting competitive edge. Correct use of these rights will then be just as important to commercial success as funding, marketing and sale.
Businesses with effective IPR strategies equate their intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks and designs) with other assets in their accounts. An MP3 player, for example, may well be protected by patents for the various technical components that make it possible to listen to music. The design is the appearance of the MP3 player as a whole or individual elements such as buttons, screen, audio keys or equivalent items which can be protected by design registration. The name of the product is often protected by a trademark such as iPad or Sony. The most familiar forms for a trademark may be a figure or a word so that the product is recognised and can be directly or indirectly differentiated from other products. The music you listen to is protected by copyright, but unlike patent, trademark and design registration it is not possible to protect copyright by registration.
IPR or intangible assets in a business need to be managed and developed just like other assets. Registered trademarks, patents and designs are part of this, but skills of staff and your own products are at least as important. This is developed through active knowledge management with procedures and activities that address this, for example:
- Enter into agreements with employees on the rights to work and inventions
- Information security and non-disclosure, agreements with your own employees, consultants and subcontractors of the company (NDAs)
- Regularly analyse both skill needs and the status of your own rights. Prepare an IPR strategy
- Clarify rights to your own products. There is a risk of infringing the rights of others if you do not have good internal procedures to investigate this. Clarifying this reduces the financial risk of developing products that cannot be sold.
Business start-up or founder
In a start-up phase you have limited resources and little experience of IPR, and it is therefore important to set strict priorities regarding how you will harness the assets you create to earn money from them in the future.
It costs money to apply for and obtain a patent or a registered trademark. It costs more for each country you apply in, and the expenditure has to be offset against income earned. It is not certain that a patent will pay for itself, but at the same time the costs of holding patents in several countries are generally not high in relation to the total cost of developing a product from an idea to market launch.
- Prioritise your own IPR activities so that you nurture and develop your ideas by being aware of who you pass ideas and plans on to. Sign non-disclosure agreements with the people you work with and ensure good information security by preventing data intrusion or loss of data.
- Document both what your own IPR assets are and how these are nurtured – this is useful information if there is a need for investment capital.
- Study and pay attention to rules that apply to publication if applying for a patent or design protection is appropriate.
- Use advisory services to develop IPR in your own business.
- Establish a network of IPR expertise.
Businesses and research institutions today are dependent on the assets that are created through knowledge, relationships, creativity, methods and skills.
- Your most important asset may be the logo or the design that is used to communicate with the market.
- For others, it may be new ideas for technical solutions or procedures.
- This may be research results and application of knowledge.
Acquiring the rights to what is your core business may be crucial to your success. You ensure control of these assets and prevent others from exploiting the idea. Such a sole right may be very important in obtaining funding. Use the symbols ©, ™, and patent pending to demonstrate to investors and others that you have applied for or have established rights.
The assets represented by these rights may be very important in attracting investors. Having your rights in order shows that you are serious and that the idea is more than just loose thoughts. There are various types of sources of funding, from professional investors to what is known as "crowdfunding", where you make a broad appeal and several people contribute. In addition, there are a number of support schemes from the public sector, such as Innovation Norway and "Start and run a business" at Altinn.
Gain inspiration and avoid infringing the rights of others
In our electronic Search Service you will find all publicly available information about trademarks, patents and designs. From a single search field you can quickly gain an overview of who has rights to what, illustrations and images associated with various registrations, the status of cases and history of payment of fees. This tool also provides new ways of compiling information, sorting and analysis with continuous notification of changes.
Preliminary Search Service
A preliminary search can provide you with important information and input ahead of or after an application process. We search in the Norwegian Industrial Property Office's own databases and in other relevant databases throughout the world. We can provide you with valuable information on technical development and the rights of others in your specialist area.
In developing new technology or services, companies are responsible for avoiding infringing the rights of others. This requires detailed knowledge of what rights are registered in the area in which the development is taking place. A development process is time-consuming and expensive, and there is therefore a major incentive for businesses and research groups to study whether there are both opportunities for development and rights. This reduces the risk of re-inventing the wheel, and the door to future cooperation, partnership and licensing opportunities is opened.
Read more about preliminary searches