For many entrepreneurs, a new business starts with an idea. It might be a creative work, a new product, or a different way to do something. No matter what it was that sparked the idea for your start-up business, it deserves protection. That’s where intellectual property law comes in.
The first step to protecting your intellectual property is knowing the right process to use. Patents, trademarks, and copyright are all legal tools you can use to defend your right to your thoughts, ideas, and creative works. Which one (or more) applies to your new start-up depends on what you are developing.
U.S. and international patent law protects inventors who develop products and processes from competitors who would steal their work. Generally speaking, a patent prevents your competitors from making, using, or selling the patented invention. Patents can cover products you sell, machines and devices you produce, or the processes you use to do your work. At CHIP LAW GROUP, our patent attorneys can help you prepare and file an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect your new business’s products and processes.
Most start-up businesses can benefit from trademark protections. Anyone with a logo, slogan, or even identifying colors can obtain trademark rights to shield those marks from being used by others in their industry. Trademark attaches to intellectual property automatically for the geographic area where your business is located. However, if you want nationwide protection you will need to register your brand with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Our trademark attorneys can help you obtain a Federal Trademark Registration for each of your company’s identifying marks and slogans, helping you carve out your place within a competitive field.
If you work in a creative industry, including software development, copyright law protects the work you do from copycat companies looking to take advantage of your talent and expertise. Having a copyright on a piece of creative work gives your company the exclusive right to use, display, distribute, and reproduce the work, and to develop derivative works from the original production. Copyright is usually thought to cover drawings, paintings, music, dance, and other fine arts. However entrepreneurs can also use copyright to protect their business documents, corporate presentations, and software code. However, ideas themselves cannot be protected. They have to be expressed in some form first. Like trademark, copyright is created automatically as soon as the work is created in some tangible medium (printing, saved to a hard drive, tape recorded, etc.). Our intellectual property attorneys can help you protect your copyright interests by registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Having a great idea isn’t enough to start a business. You need funding. But banks, investors, and venture capitalists want to know that your new product development can be protected. You need to know that a competitor hasn’t beaten you to the patent office, and that your version of the idea is not at risk of a patent lawsuit. Our IP lawyers can provide you with product clearance searches and non-infringement opinions to satisfy your investors and guide your business development strategies.
Many entrepreneurial inventors never stop creating. However, if you want to profit from your ideas, you need to find a way to be paid for them. For many inventors, this includes licensing your products, processes, and ideas to larger companies that can handle manufacturing, marketing, and distributing your invention. At CHIP LAW GROUP, we can help you perform your due diligence on any potential business partners. To make the most of your interests, we can create robust licensing agreements that protect your interests and your rights, and give you options for when circumstances change.
If you are an entrepreneur or inventor and want to protect your start-up business’s intellectual property, we can help. From portfolio development to patent searches, we can assist your product development, and help secure all the proper patents, trademarks, and copyrights to protect your work. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced intellectual property attorneys.