Today at Macworld, Apple formally announced their jump into the cell phone market with the iPhone. There are two main lessons that every entrepreneur, whether Apple-lover or PC-enthusiast, can take home from this landmark event:
(1) You need to protect your intellectual property early. Steve Jobs said Apple has applied for over 200 patents for the iPhone. However, one IP issue Apple hasn’t locked down is the rights to the word “iPhone.” (Cisco has owned the trademark since 1996.) Of course, you can’t fault Apple for not protecting a name 11 years before a product release, but it should nevertheless serve as a reminder to you to obtain your IP protections ASAP.
(2) You need to find a strategic partner. Apple is going to strategically partner with Cingular Wireless to provide cell phone coverage for the iPhone. Keep in mind I’m not talking about finding someone or some company to exercise a joint venture or merger. Rather, find a company that you can truly obtain synergy with, whether through advertising or product delivery. And be sure to draft documents that reflect the strategic partnership. They will help keep track of both companies goals and obligations from the relationship, aiding the partnership’s success.