If you are thinking of starting a business, you probably have some good ideas about how you can offer a better service or product than is currently available on the market. Those ideas are most likely centered around a more efficient way of doing things, or more user-friendly software that addresses a common need, or a piece of equipment that will make life easier for millions of people, once they find out that you can provide it.
Those ideas, stemming from your own thinking and from your own experiences, are called intellectual property, and they can have significant value in the market place when developed and applied in a business undertaking. As such, they become valuable to you, and the law has provided ways to protect that intellectual property.
While you are focusing on making your ideas become reality to potential customers, there are many other individuals that are looking for good ideas like yours, so they can jump in and use those ideas in their own business. By using your ideas, they don’t have to go to the trouble of thinking up those ideas and going through the same good and bad experiences that you went through to develop that intellectual property. If they have a well-developed business process and organization, they will be able to get your intellectual property to market faster than you can while you are just starting up. That creates unfair competition for you and is the reason the law can protect you and your intellectual property, which you took the time and energy to develop.
Those protections include patents, copyrights, trademarks, service marks, trade secrets, business models, and operating processes. They can even include plans to attract and retain talented employees and contractors, as well as operating contracts and compensation plans. When you contract for services, negotiate new deals, or interview potential employees, you should use confidentiality agreements, so that other people will not use or disclose your intellectual property which you discussed with them in the normal course of business. You should also use assignment agreements so that when your employees use your intellectual property and discover a way to improve on it, that improvement will become part of your intellectual property, and not theirs, to distribute or profit from it. You are paying them and all the overhead expenses to use your intellectual property, so the improved results rightfully belong to you.
The attorneys at Wilson Bradshaw LLP have represented many startup businesses, and have been through the process themselves. They are ready to assist you in preparing the documents which will protect your business and intellectual property as you attract and retain the customer base which you have worked so hard to develop. With offices in New York City and Irvine, California, we mainly help entrepreneurs raise capital through the offering of securities. Part of that is making sure the Company’s IP is protected.