LESSONS LEARNED

Traditional Intellectual Property Lessons Learned

Over the past few months, we have been talking to many entrepreneurs about their knowledge-gap around intellectual property (IP) and other important startup matters that actually impact IP or intangibles (and therefore valuation and ultimately their success). This is the first in a three part series detailing the lessons learned by these early stage companies.

First, what do I mean by traditional IP? I often joke that if I had a dollar for every person who told me they didn’t have any IP in their business, and a second dollar for those who think IP is only patents, I would be rich. Traditional IP to me is the patent or trademark protection. That is not to say that copyrights, trade secrets, and so on are not IP—far from it—but the most common IP is patents and trademarks. Unfortunately there remain some big misconceptions around protecting traditional IP.

A few brave entrepreneurs have shared their stories to help others learn about the importance of IP identification early and often.

Timing is everything

Phillip Felice, Founder of Bridge Optix, described his recent brush with IP horror in a single sentence: “I realized I have underestimated intellectual property timing importance.” Phillip was weeks away from a public release of his product when he was grilled on his company’s IP protection and strategy. He realized that his patents needed to be filed before his public product release.

We have heard other horror stories where companies have spent thousands on branding for websites, signage, or product packaging without first securing rights to a name, including trademarks. Register and secure rights before spending too much of your limited startup capital.

Location, location, location

Patents filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) only cover the US. The same goes for trademarks and copyrights filed with the US Copyright office.

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PROTECTING WHAT IS YOURS

Since almost all work nowadays is written (in some form) or at the very least documented in writing, this is some very good advice about protecting your intellectual property rights and your work.

What Creative People Need To Do To Protect Their Work

Careful where you sign–before you write off your rights to hard work.

With so many ways to share and publish online, it may seem virtually impossible to protect your work from being exploited.

But according to Robert C. Cumbow, an attorney for the Seattle-based law firm, Graham & Dunn PC, who works closely with creative professionals, there are a few simple measures you can take and details you should know to make sure you’re not being exploited…

 

http://www.fastcompany.com/3033114/hit-the-ground-running/what-every-creative-person-needs-to-do-to-protect-their-work?partner=rss