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Part IV The Position of Project Owners Under the Crowdfunding Regulation and Beyond, 10 Crowdfunding and Intellectual Property Protection »

Christopher A Cotropia
From: The EU Crowdfunding Regulation
Edited By: Pietro Ortolani, Marije Louisse
This chapter assesses some intellectual property (IP) issues that are not directly covered by the Crowdfunding Regulation, but are of great practical relevance for project owners pursuing a crowdfunding campaign. When attempting to raise funds through crowdfunding, project owners provide information as to their plans, strategies, and business model. This often happens at a time when project owners are still in the start-up phase. In this delicate moment, IP rights can play a twofold rule. On the one hand, the crowd may be more inclined to invest in a project that is patented or patent-pending. From this point of view, IP rights can act as a sort of quality trustmark for crowdfunded projects. On the other hand, however, the disclosure of information at such an early stage entails the risk that the innovative aspects of the proposed business venture will be emulated by ‘copycats’, piggybacking on the project owner’s efforts. Far from being merely theoretical, this risk has already been reported in practice; therefore, it is useful to investigate the phenomenon in its complexity.