When you found a startup, you have a lot on your mind at the beginning -- hiring the right employees, attracting customers, choosing an office space -- and you may not think about how your intellectual property (IP) affects your ability to do business. IP, however, is your startup's most valuable asset, and as a startup founder, you need to be mindful about how it is used and who can claim ownership of it.
Prevent Others From Claiming Ownership of Your Intellectual Property
As a new startup owner, you may develop some of your best ideas during informal conversations with friends and business associates. If you choose to take your business relationship to the next level and add a co-founder to your startup, you should have an experienced startup attorney prepare the paperwork and put all of your agreements in writing. This ensures that your startup owns its IP and your co-founder cannot take it with them if he or she leaves the company.
In most cases, IP belongs to the individual creator unless you have an agreement that specifies that the IP belongs to the company. A strong agreement protects your startup's claim to the IP.
Invest in Intellectual Property Protection
Startups are often strapped for cash at the beginning of their business life cycle and defer formally protecting their IP. The process of filing for formal protection in the United States and internationally can seem complicated and confusing, but the Law Office of Elliott J. Brown can handle copyright and trademark protection for your startup. Additionally, the Law Office of Elliott J. Brown can prepare a Non-Disclosure or Confidentiality Agreement to protect your Trade Secrets.
The value of your startup may be based on intangible assets. Having formal IP protection in place is attractive to investors, which can affect your ability to get funding.
Litigate When Necessary
If someone has infringed on your IP rights -- whether a former employee uses trade secrets to his or her advantage after signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement or a competitor infringes on your IP rights -- you need to weigh the benefits of litigation. Although litigation may be expensive and the process may be slow, the benefits of following through may outweigh the costs. A qualified startup attorney can advise you if litigation is your best option or if out-of-court resolutions exist.
If litigation is necessary, you should keep a long-term perspective for your startup. During litigation, your business will likely focus more on the legal case and less on growth. That's why keeping the end goal in mind is important.
Protect Your Business
Think of IP as the foundation of your startup's home. A great home is built on a rock-solid foundation. The Law Office of Elliott J. Brown provides personal, flexible, and cost-effective services to give your startup the best foundation. Whether you need to prepare legal paperwork to form your startup, IP rights protected, or general legal advice, the Law Office of Elliott J. Brown is here to help. Call us today at (732) 490-8200 or contact us online to learn more.