In the beginning stages, many Arizona startups focus on two main goals: attracting customers and gaining profits. However, there is one challenge that is often overlooked but much more important: protecting intellectual property. Intellectual property includes trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and other information unique to the company.
Surprisingly, many companies don’t even have a plan in place to keep these secrets safe, and, as a result, they risk someone else making profits off of this specialized information. Here are some important steps for entrepreneurs to take in order to avoid a trademark dispute and help ensure the success of their companies for many years to come.
Protection of intellectual property involves legal agreements. Every employee and vendor should sign nondisclosure agreements and non-compete clauses forbidding them to disclose the company’s secrets with anyone outside the company. Even computer developers and programmers should be required to sign agreements, since they created the website code and could use it in a competitor’s project.
All patents and trademarks should be put in the company’s name. If it is put in an individual’s name, such as the founder, then he or she could quit the company at any time and walk away with this important information.
Another good tip: keep security measures in place. Make servers and confidential files password-protected. Shred any paperwork that is no longer needed. But do keep a paper trail of the steps the company took to protect its intellectual property. If a case goes to trial, the court will want to see all the steps taken, from idea inception to protection.
Intellectual property is an important element of any business. Many companies are looking to steal the ideas of others and make money off of them, so it’s imperative that proper protections are put in place to protect a company and its intangible assets.
Source: Houston Business Journal, “5 ways to protect your IP in a startup” Joe Martin, Feb. 24, 2015
Call Cook & Price, PLC today at 480-407-4440 or email us through this website.