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Tech Startups Must Consider the Value of Their Intellectual Property

start-up.jpgBeyond being home to some of the biggest tech businesses in the world, the Bay Area remains a top location for startups. As was reported in a study from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship, San Francisco and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara are both ranked among the top-ten regions in the United States to start a tech company. Of course, forming a new company comes with many challenges. Here, our Silicon Valley business law attorneys focus one of the most important aspects of starting a new tech company: Intellectual property rights.

Know Your Company's Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property rights come in several different forms. In order to properly protect the IP of your business, you must fully understand the nature of your IP. Different protections that may be available for your company include:

  • Patents: A patent is an exclusive right to exclude others from selling or marketing a new invention. In order to receive a patent, you must submit a valid application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and then receive approval. A patent is an extremely valuable legal right. If it is available to your company, it should be used.
  • Copyrights: This type of IP protection is for original works of authorship. Notably, in some cases, software code may be entitled to copyright protection. While copyrights are granted automatically, officially registering a copyright is advisable in many circumstances.
  • Trademarks: Trademark protection is available for a symbol that creates brand recognition in the mind of a reasonable consumer.
  • Trade secret protections: A trade secret refers to a process or technique that is used during the manufacturing of a product or implementation of a service. You can protect parties from sharing your company's trade secret through a well-drafted contract.

You Must Protect Your IP Before Consulting With Outside Developers or Investors

In many cases, entrepreneurs have an incredible new idea but need additional assistance to get that idea developed. It may be that your tech company needs to bring in a person with a particular skill or that your startup company needs to access outside financing. Regardless, letting more individuals or firms into your process often requires sharing some important and confidential information. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, protracted legal disputes have developed because people have taken ideas from other companies and tried to use them for their own personal benefit. Before you consult with any outside individuals or companies, you need to ensure that your intellectual property is fully protected. There are many different methods that can be used to protect IP, including:

Contact an Experienced San Jose Business Litigation Attorney Today

At Diemer, Whitman & Cardosi, LLP, our dedicated San Jose business law attorneys have helped many tech startup companies handle issues involving intellectual property. To find out more about what we can do for your new startup business, please contact our office today. We serve tech companies throughout Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, including in Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale.



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