Eight Intellectual Property Issues Startups Should Address
1. Identify the IP
Startups are driving innovation in the United States of America and throughout the world. The startup's intellectual property (IP) must be protected, because potential investors will want to know what IP the startups have and whether it is protected. By some calculations, IP represents up to 90 percent of the value of America's most prosperous companies!
2. Decide who owns the IP.
The IP is originally owned by the inventor. For the startup to own it, the inventor must assign it to the startup. If the inventor continues to own it, the inventor must assign it to the startup.
3. Create an IP Plan
The IP plan serves as a blueprint for the startup to use to extract the most benefit from the innovations being created. Also, the plan will show how to reduce the risk of being sued by others.
4. Make sure a non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement is in place
Before discussing the company's products with anyone outside the business, the startup founders should make sure they have signed a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement in place.
5. Maintain the chain of title and ownership
The startup should maintain the company's chain of title and ownership, and ensure that independent contractors and employees sign the IP assignment agreements. Remember that IP gives the owners the right to stop others from using their creativity without authorization.
6. Don’t give away your IP.
The startup should make sure a good license agreement is in place before allowing others to use the company's IP. The startup founders should make sure they understand what the contract says, and ensure that they maintain control over the IP.
7. Conduct a Trademark Search and Examine international intellectual property protection.
The startup should do a trademark search for the name of the company's startup at the outset. The founders should run a search through the Federal Registry and should conduct an internet search for the name. They can also hire an attorney to perform this job for a reasonable fee.
8. Examine international IP protection
If the startup is going to be producing overseas or has customers or licensees overseas, the company should protect the IP in those countries as well.