Why Focus on IP?
Intellectual property protection is an area regularly overlooked, despite the fact that this is a pivotal area of law, especially for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses.
When they think about intellectual property, most people assume it pertains just to tech-based innovations. But at some level every company has intellectual property rights to protect.
In today’s world, fewer companies have tangible assets such as equipment, manufacturing facilities or real estate. Instead, the vast majority of companies today have most of their assets based on intellectual property rights.
That includes everything from the yoga studio that needs to protect its name all the way to the biotech company that has inventions to protect. No matter what size or type of business enterprise you have, there are aspects of intellectual property law that touch your company. And those rights need to be managed and protected.
The intellectual property of a business is a valuable asset. Securing and protecting it is essential to a business’ future success. There are many myths and misconceptions about the nature and value of patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secret protection, so it is vital for a business to understand its rights and how intellectual property law can help.
Not a Simple Process
Protecting a new idea is often a difficult process. Some ideas and inventions simply cannot be protected, while others are eligible for only narrow or partial immunity from potential competition and imitation. Obtaining even minimal protection can often be expensive and time-consuming, and the ultimate result may be uncertain or even disadvantageous to the inventor.
The decision to seek protection for a new idea should be approached with the same caution and skepticism you would bring to any other commercial transaction, such as taking out a loan or starting a new business.
Just because a new idea may be eligible for some form of legal protection does not mean that the cost of obtaining and preserving it is justified from a business viewpoint. Although the final decision can best be made by consulting a qualified attorney, you will be able to better select and communicate with an attorney if you already have some knowledge of the various types of intellectual property protection that are available.
Even if you have yet to develop a new invention or concept, a general knowledge of intellectual property law can be helpful in avoiding the many problems that could easily jeopardize your idea in its early stages of development.
Consultants at our Small Business Assistance Office can help you understand more about protecting your company's intellectual property. And our network of Small Business Development Centers has experts located in nine main regional offices and several satellite centers statewide.
Our publication A Guide to Intellectual Property Protection provide a deeper look at this important business issue.