In today’s tech startup world, intellectual property (IP) is often the most valuable asset a person or company possesses. Undoubtedly, the next billion dollar idea is currently being developed – and it is just as likely that it is being developed in a suburban garage as it is that it is being brainstormed in a Fortune 500 boardroom. Because of the tremendous value that intellectual property can have, it is critical for entrepreneurs and startup founders to protect their (IP) through every legal means available and to have a plan in place to deal with potential issues that may arise. By implementing a plan that outlines IP concerns and addresses how they will be dealt with, business owners can avoid disputes and reduce the need for ad hoc solutions to recurring problems. Some of the specific ways in which an IP strategy can help are detailed below. For specific advice regarding your situation, call our office today.

An Intellectual Property Strategy can Establish Ownership and Avoid Founder Disputes

Many valuable ideas are born through collaborative efforts and discussions that may take place over the course of months or even years. In many cases, during this period of collaborative effort, startup founders are happy to split everything “50-50” and assure the other that the money will “work itself out.” Not surprisingly, these types of informal agreements tend to fall by the wayside when founders have significant sums of money at stake and feel that they contributed more than the other or others. A comprehensive intellectual property strategy can avoid these kinds of disputes by establishing ownership interest at the outset and providing for how any future IP that is created will be allocated.

An IP Plan can Avoid Expensive and Time-Consuming Litigation

While it may seem like a remote possibility in the early stages of a business, there is good chance that a startup will be sued for violating someone else’s IP rights. An IP plan developed by an experienced attorney will help avoid these situations by establishing best practices that minimize the risk of an IP violation occurring inadvertently.

Planning for IP Protection can Systematize the Handling of Recurring Issues

As a company grows, there are certain tasks with IP implications that will arise again and again. For example, at some point, most companies need to hire people to meet increased demand for their product or service. When employees come on board, they often need to have access to certain confidential information about the way that the company operates. A good IP plan will include a standard employee non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to protect the company’s IP that can be tailored to meet each potential employee the company hires. This is highly advisable to calling legal counsel each time an employee joins the team and generating unique IP agreements for each person.

Contact a Silicon Valley Small Business Attorney Today to Discuss your Project

Waiting to deal with intellectual property issues as they arise can be a recipe for disaster. If a dispute drags you into litigation, it may result in the end of your business even if you prevail. As a result, the prudent course of action for any startup founder or entrepreneur is to develop a comprehensive IP strategy from the outset. To schedule a consultation with Mountain View small business lawyer Claire Kalia, call our office today at 650-701-7671 or send us an email through our online contact form.

- Claire Kalia

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