Startup founders are creators and innovators. They begin their business because they see a solution to a problem and they want to share it with the world. It’s understandable that these entrepreneurs hold their startups so near and dear to their heart. When you put blood, sweat, and tears into your startup the last thing you want is someone stealing your idea or making it difficult to market.
That’s why it’s important to understand your intellectual property rights, what to do and what not to do. And even more importantly, you need a Garcia-Zamor IP law expert at your side through it all.
Why Protect the IP For Your Startup?
What if you understand the need to protect your IP, but you’re not sure what exactly counts as IP for your startup? There are a number of things you’ll need to protect when you start to share your startup with the world, including:
- Trade Secrets and Confidential Information – A trade secret is a secret element of your business that has monetary value because of its secrecy and which you take “reasonable efforts” to keep secret. Trade secrets — or any other confidential business information — can be protected through employment agreements, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), active monitoring, or limiting access to information.
- Inventions – Does your startup revolve around an invention of yours? You’ll want to check the USPTO to ensure that idea hasn’t already been patented before you get carried away. Once you start preparing to launch your business, make sure to patent your invention. By US law, inventors are given one year after their invention goes public to file a patent. However, the best strategy is to file a patent application before your invention is ever disclosed.
- Authorship – When it comes to your startup, authorship can refer to the content on your website, to the code used to build your app, or the marketing materials you created to promote your business. As soon as you go public with them, you are legally the author of those works. However, it’s best to have a copyright so you can prove that authorship.
- Logo, Brand, and Other Imagery – This can include the pictures used on your website or social media, as well as trademarking your brand. Every bit of branding that you protect with federal trademark registrations is another piece of branding that the competitors in your industry cannot use. This can be a huge advantage!
How You Can Afford To Protect Your IP
When beginning a startup, every expense can feel daunting. It might not seem worth it to pay the filing fees for patents or to hire an IP law attorney to represent you. But it might help you avoid bigger expenses down the line, such as court costs in the event that someone challenges your IP.
One way to save money is to strategize your IP plan. Figure out what you need in the early stages of development so you don’t waste money on what you don’t need. You can also do research on the different filing fees so as to add them into your budget. If you’re working with a startup loan, try to allocate some of that towards your IP protection.
In the event that your IP is threatened, one way to save costs on litigation is to take advantage of Garcia-Zamor’s flat monthly legal fee litigation program. This can make it easier to pan and take away some of the unpredictability in protecting your biggest business investments. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.