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Intellectual Property Overview

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