Ten Tips on IP Best Practices - Tip 3

April 17, 2014

Top Ten Tips on Intellectual Property Best Practices for Small Businesses

Everyone knows high tech businesses derive most of their value from intellectual property.  However, in our digitized world of information overload, few businesses really know how to “separate the wheat from the chaff.”  The reality is every business can build and sustain a competitive advantage by properly leveraging its intellectual property.  Your legal counsel can add tremendous value to your organization by ensuring proper identification and legal protection for these valuable but intangible assets.  The following is our monthly Top Ten Tip on IP Best Practices for Small Businesses.

Tip #3. Implement Proper IP Protections.  Once your IP assets have been identified, evaluate and implement appropriate legal protections.  In some cases, you may be entitled to IP rights even without registration.  In other cases, federal and/or state registration can greatly enhance your legal rights.  Trademarks and copyrights can be protected in the US by filing registrations with the US Patent and Trademark Office.  Business processes or inventions can be protected by filing patent applications.  Trade secrets and other confidential proprietary information can only be protected if you implement internal security measures and confidentiality procedures to safeguard the information.  Depending on the circumstances, you may be better served by treating a business process or invention as a trade secret rather than filing a patent because a patent filing is a public process which makes your invention accessible to the world.  Legal counsel specializing in IP can save your company time and money by advising you when it is appropriate to file a patent, trademark or copyright application, or simply use the trademark symbol (™) instead of incurring the expense associated with IP filings.

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