Intellectual Property (IP) comprises a series of legal ownership claims that include trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade secrets and industrial design rights. Small businesses or startups focus less on IP and consequently involve in lawyers in expensive legal issues. This article shares useful tips to help entrepreneurs guard their ideas and IP policy.
Tip#1: Solemnize Ownership Agreement
A precise agreement formalizing the ownership amongst the people involved in the business should be made. The agreement should clearly state the business owner/s and how the dividends created by IP will be shared among the founders; upon company’s expansion or merger.
Tip#2: Spend Wisely on Patent Filing
Patent expenses should be focused on strategic IP protection because patent filing is expensive. Sensitive business ideas and core patentable schemes should be revealed to a selected few who have agreed to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Consult a legal professional and opt for a provisional patent application first with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an intelligent way for creating temporary IP protection.
Tip#3: Protect Writing Materials
To protect manual, guide, documents and publicity material from infringement, U.S. law supports copyright notices since 1989. Therefore, to avoid legal hassles in the future, ensure that your company stamps all the materials with the copyright symbol or the word “copyright” and the year of creation and first publication.