If you are preparing to launch your new business, you probably have a name, a logo, some critical database information and perhaps a prototype of the widget you plan to sell.
Remember to protect your intellectual property. As a startup business, IP may be your most valuable asset.
A little background
The need to protect intellectual property has been a concern of business owners for hundreds of years. The United States Constitution recognizes that need and approves the creation of government agencies for the purpose of offering IP registration. One example of this is the U.S. Patent Office. Another is the U.S. Copyright Office, now celebrating 150 years. Today, in addition to trademark and copyright protection, startups must secure various types of IP including trade secrets, know-how, databases and client lists.
As a startup, you want to focus on making the products you create marketable, but first, you must see to their safekeeping. For example, if you are planning to patent your innovative widget, you should begin with a patentability search followed by the development of a patent procurement plan. You might have trade secrets you can best protect with noncompete or nondisclosure agreements. A trademark protection strategy would likely include a clearance search prior to filing.
In an increasingly globalized world, information can flow over the internet to destinations anywhere in the world. Until such time as standards for the preservation of IP become globalized, it is important to seek as much protection as you can for your widget, your know-how and any other intellectual property you own as you open your business to the public.