What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property can have many forms, but according to the World Intellectual Property Organization, Intellectual Property “refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works; designs, symbols, names and images used in commerce.”

Protecting your ideas, strategies, and trade secrets allows you the necessary legal parameters for your startup to continue to grow, attract the right investors, and more without worries of imitations or rip-offs from competitors.

Intellectual property can be in the form of trademarks, patents, trade secrets, copyrights, and more. Ensuring you have strong legal protections against your creations can mean that your ideas, strategies, and more can remain yours and not easily imitated by your competitors.

Protect Your Trade Secrets

Trade secrets can look different for each industry, whether it be a specific pattern or recipe, a marketing or other business strategy, manufacturing or pricing information, and more. Protecting this information at all costs is crucial to most businesses and something we should all focus on. It’s unfortunately too easy for someone to come into your company, learn all they can about the “baby” you created, work there long enough to understand your unique strategies and how you have built your success, and then leave to re-create it elsewhere.

Keeping trade secrets confidential keeps others from stealing and profiting from your ideas. So how do you do this? There isn’t a black-and-white answer for this, unfortunately, but if you are acting within reason to protect the information, such as through the use of locked files, password-protected information, confidentiality agreements, or more, your trade secret can be protected indefinitely.

Some examples could be ensuring specific documents are labeled as confidential and password-protected, discussing with all employees what information is omitted and why it’s imperative to keep it confidential, using electronic monitoring systems, installing surveillance, and more.

Trademarks Offer Legal Brand Protection

A trademark can be many things, but it’s associated with your brand and should be protected against counterfeits. For example, some of the most common brands you know and likely use each day trademark their logo or slogan and even the colors they commonly use, so competitors are challenged to copy their strategies.

Ensuring that your brand is legally trademarked is crucial to safeguarding the innovations in your startup. It’s important to note that a typical trademark is specific to a geographic location. For example, if you are on the West Coast and have a trademark, someone on the East Coast may be able to use a similar logo or brand colors, with some restrictions.

How Are Patents Helpful To Startups?

A patent can be created to protect the rights of the investor or inventor of the product. When doing so, you typically allow others to utilize your secrets or strategies, but you retain the rights to the original creation. Patents usually are only usable for a specified period of time, from over a decade up to a couple of decades.

For example, a design patent typically lasts for fourteen years and is designed to specifically protect the appearance of an item but not its function or structure. The creator may wish to obtain a design and utility patent if the item is a new invention.

A utility patent protects how an item is used or how it functions. Utility patents typically protect the invention or new discovery of a process, improvement, a new machine, or the composition of a machine and can normally last up to twenty years.

A fee schedule is typically associated with a patent to renew the patent for many years to come.

Review Regularly and Update as Necessary

One of the other critical components of a startup is that regular reviews of the intellectual property may be necessary. This strategy allows for the crater to ensure that newly discovered systems, strategies, or processes can also be protected.

For example, suppose a business is created that includes the invention of a new item was created. As the company grows, additional items may be considered as a spin-off of that item that also requires a patent, trademark, or copyright. Similarly, you may have created additional marketing strategies for your unique product line and want to protect these valuable strategies. Securing additional protection as necessary can ensure that while your company continues to grow, your additional ideas and strategies remain yours without infringement.

Consider incorporating further protections through trademarks, updating contracts, employing additional security measures, and more to retain rights as necessary.

Experience You Can Rely On

After several years of experience in business and the legal field, Ragab Law Firm was founded in 2016. We have assisted clients with various needs, such as business legal needs, estate planning, and criminal defense.

The unique minds that typically create an invention or begin a startup company aren’t always well-versed in how to protect their ideas. We team up with startups across our state to ensure they remain in control of their ideas and the success that will follow them.

Whether it’s reviewing the structure of your new business, writing contracts that help protect you and your investors, or navigating the ever-changing landscape that is business law, our team is ready to assist you.

We work tirelessly for our clients and are their most fierce advocates when necessary. Let’s work together to ensure that your business baby is strongly protected and can continue growing into your envisioned success.

Call our office today at (303) 557-2011 to schedule a consultation with one of our team members. We look forward to learning about your success and being a valuable legal asset to the growth of your business.