Does your company have any intellectual property that you need to protect???
Answer: Yes – it does !
Protecting your intellectual property is extremely important. Some of the things you DON’T want to happen are:
- You find out 6 months down the road that a former founder (who left the team) owns some of what you though were the company’s ideas and designs and/or code (but that person never signed an intellectual-property (IP) assignment contract so the company does not own it). That’s very bad.
- You didn’t have contractors sign an IP assignment contract, leading to the same problem as above.
- You didn’t trademark your company name, and after spending money setting up for a big merchandising push, you find out that you have to change the company’s name.
- You didn’t protect your technology through a patent or a trade secret or copyright, and someone else is copying it.
You don’t have to be a tech company to have important IP! So it’s important to pay attention to all the topics in this section of the road map – and talk to an IP attorney about your company.
There are six intellectual property rights that an entrepreneur needs to understand:
- Copyrights: the right to copy a work
- Trademarks: identify the commercial source or origin
- Trade Dress: protect visual design that signifies source of the product to consumers
- Patent: stop others from making, selling, importing an invention
- Design Patent: Protect ornamental aspects of utilitarian objects
- Trade Secret: protect information which is not generally known