How a Business Attorney Can Help Protect Your Intellectual Property
Unlike tangible possessions like equipment or inventory, your business’s intangible assets must be monitored and protected. This includes your business name, content, designs, and inventions. You can save these intangible assets by working with a qualified business attorney.
In this increasingly technological age, it’s essential to safeguard ideas and inventions. You can do so by taking preventative legal action, such as pursuing trademark, copyright, and patent protections for your products and ideas. If you still need to be ready to retain an Underhill Law Denver business attorney to handle your intellectual property matters, consider seeking help through one of many pro bono services for small businesses and entrepreneurs. You may also find assistance through an intellectual property law clinic at a local law school.
Your intellectual property consists of all your intangible assets, from computer programs and logos to secret recipes, customer lists, and strategic plans. Protecting this valuable asset requires monitoring and proactively safeguarding it from theft, competition, and infringement by unwitting employees and third parties. Your business attorney can advise you on these matters and assist in preparing the necessary paperwork.
Starting a business requires a significant investment of time and money. The brand, logo, content, and product designs you create are among your most valuable assets. However, you must take the proper legal steps to protect them and prevent them from being stolen by competitors. Copyrights offer protection for works of authorship. This includes literary, dramatic, graphical, architectural, sculpted, recorded, audiovisual, and software works.
A business attorney can help you obtain a copyright to your work or register a previously issued one. They can also help you draft license agreements to share your intellectual property with others. A lawyer can assist with DMCA takedown requests, and they can file infringement lawsuits when necessary. They can also help you draft and review intellectual property contracts to avoid disputes. A reasonable business attorney can save you from costly lawsuits that could tarnish your reputation, diminish your income, and prevent your ability to innovate in the future. They can also handle corporate changes, including mergers and acquisitions.
Intellectual property protections help discourage malicious actors and stop accidental misuse in a business environment where information is more freely available. A knowledgeable lawyer can assist with securing these protections and enforcing them as needed. A patent offers the owner of an original invention legal ownership and the ability to earn royalty when other individuals or businesses create products that infringe upon their patents. A patent must be applied before a product is created, and several patents can be obtained. For example, a design patent can protect a product’s unique shape. In contrast, a utility patent can provide 20 years of protection for a helpful product or provide some innovation. A business attorney can review the different types of intellectual property protections and determine which ones are appropriate for your product or service.
A business owner should consider protecting intellectual property through copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. Copyrights protect written or artistic works for the creator’s lifetime, plus 70 years. Patents cover inventions and new computer programs. Trade secrets can be used to protect confidential customer lists, strategic plans, employee training information, and formulae that give businesses a competitive edge. As a rule, trade secret laws do not require the owner to register the news with an official U.S. government agency.
However, the law requires that the owner take affirmative steps to keep the information secret. This includes non-disclosure and noncompete agreements in employee hiring documents and taking basic network precautions like enabling two-factor authentication on email accounts and CMS portals. As the economy shifts toward a greater reliance on intangible intellectual property assets, a company should adequately invest the time and resources to secure its intellectual properties. An experienced attorney can help a company understand its IP needs and ensure it has legal protections.