There are close to 28 million small businesses in the U.S., each with a product of service to offer. With that comes the risk of intellectual property and patent infringements from competitors or other business owners. Understanding the four types of intellectual property can save you thousands of dollars in start-up costs and legal fees.
A trademark will protect your brand. It is vital to protect your trademark; in most cases a trademark attorney or trademark law firm can assist you in registering your trademark at inception of your business.
Formulas (think soft drinks), new inventions, and secured information are considered trade secrets and are protected under intellectual property law statutes. Trade secret infringement,or misappropriation occurs when a competitor or other entity acquires a trade secret,or discloses a trade secret without consent. If for any reason you or your business is accused of misappropriation, retaining an intellectual property lawyer is key to your defense. Likewise, if your company trade secrets have been misappropriated, retaining an intellectual property lawyer is vital.
If you produce any works of authorship, e.g. books, movies, drawings, blogs(including individual posts)and digital content, securing a copyright is your best defense against misappropriation of your original works. While the Internet has made it more difficult to protect your original digital works (photos, blog posts, for example) obtaining a copyright still makes good business sense.
PatentsProtecting your business’s intellectual property is key to a stable and viable business. Retaining an intellectual property lawyer on the outset should be one of the first tasks for a new business, both to protect your intellectual property as well as to protect against inadvertent misappropriation of a competitor’s intellectual property. You can save your business thousands of dollars in legal fees by preemptively retaining intellectual property counsel.
You can locate an intellectual property attorney or law firm by contacting your county bar association for a referral. Speak with several attorneys and firms to find the right “fit” for you and your business. They should be familiar with your industry as well as your product or service.