In a previous post I mentioned that I was conducting a workshop for Startup Grind. Due to Hurricane Matthew and the resulting evacuation the event was postponed. Last week (December 8) the Intellectual Property Workshop for the Startup Grind community finally took place. Here are some key takeaways I shared, that I believe any business owner should be aware of.
1. Intellectual Property (“IP”) is an asset to your business; do not overlook it.
2. Ownership – You (your business) should own your IP:
a) Have all independent contractors sign a Work-for-Hire Agreement;
b) Assignments of Ownership
3. Trademarks protect source identification of your goods/services; however, you must use it or lose it.
4. Conduct or have conducted a trademark search (preferably a professional one) before deciding on your brand.
5. Patents protect inventions not ideas.
6. Copyrights protect the expression of an idea.
7. Trade Secrets are secrets that confer an economic benefit to your business, so long as you maintain them as secrets.
8. Don’t disclose your invention until you have considered your IP:
a) Decide early if you want to protect your IP as a trade secret vs. a patent &/or copyright. Specifically, whether there’s a competitive advantage to patenting new innovations in your business, or if you would benefit by protecting the piece of IP through trade secrets;
b) Twelve Month Bar – You will lose the right to patent if you fail to file an application within 12 months of disclosing an invention in the US;
c) Foreign Countries – Loss of patent rights as soon as an invention is publicly disclosed.
9. Build a Portfolio – Multiple forms of protection should be used to build your portfolio, including as many as necessary patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
10. There is no worldwide protection for IP – Depending on where you use or plan to use your IP, it may be necessary to file in each individual country where you desire protection.
11. As the owner of your IP it is your duty and responsibility to police your IP:
a) Use Patent Pending, ©, and ® when and where applicable;
b) Set up Google Alerts;
c) Order official Watch Services
d) Send Cease and Desist Letters
ID you IP with this table:
The Startup Grind events range from networking-focused, to information-based, to entertainment, and beyond. I highly suggest you check them out if you are here in Charleston or if you have a local branch in your town. Click here for more background and here for the local Charleston chapter.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
Law Office of Jason H. Rosenblum, PLLC © 2016 All rights reserved.