Intellectual Property

There is little doubt that your trade secrets, writings, trade names/trade dress and inventions are or can be a significant part of your success.  But most likely, you are leaving yourself exposed to loss of intellectual property (IP) and you have given little or no thought to exploiting your IP as a separate strategic business unit. 

 

Many businesses, large and small, suffer damages each year due to loss of intellectual property: 

 

  • Trade secrets are lost when employees are hired by competitors.
  • Unregistered trade names become diluted when adopted by competitors and user groups.
  • Written materials are lifted and used by competitors.
  • Inventive ideas are lost when competitors integrate them into their own products.

 

Because it is often difficult to determine the actual dollar value of these damages, many companies choose not to allocate the resources to stem the flow of these losses.   But these losses generally can be prevented with very little effort and cost.
 
I can help you set up an IP management system that will maximize the returns from your R&D, engineering and marketing investments.  My goal is to tailor a system for you that will be easy and inexpensive to maintain, but will minimize IP losses and maximize the IP generated revenue.  I provide you with firm fixed price bids for each task so you can project return on investment.  I operate with low overhead, so you will find my prices to be significantly less than other law firms.
 
The services I provide include:

 

  • Patent application preparation and filing.
  • Patent prosecution.
  • Trademark registration.
  • Copyright registration.
  • Conduct infringement searches.
  • Infringement consultation.
  • Patentability opinions.
  • Audit and inventory intellectual property you own.
  • Provide staff education on ways to protect intellectual property.
  • Identify ways to exploit intellectual property.
  • Write and review Licensing agreements.
  • Negotiate licensing agreements.
  • Draft non-disclosure agreements.
  • Conduct trade secret training for engineering, programming and sales staff.
  • Write cease and desist letters to infringers.
  • Provide notification when competitor’s patent applications are published.
 
 
 
Intellectual Property

  • Patent Application and Prosecution
  • Trademark and Copyright registration
  • Trade Secrets
  • Licensing and Contracts
  •  

    Copyright

    Registration of copyrights can be of value under certain circumstances, and certainly should be done before any litigation is initiated. If you produce software or sell written material, copyright protection is available to you. Copyright protection allows you to prevent others from misusing and copying your protected material. Some diligence is also needed to look for misuse of your works and to quickly notify infringers that use your works without permission will not be tolerated.

     

    Patents

    Your inventions are likely one of the ways your customers distinguish you from your competitors.  We generally think of inventions as devices (circuits, sensors, etc.), but your software and even “business methods” can be patented in the U.S.  Protecting inventions through the patent process can be cost-effective and can lead to previously overlooked revenue streams.  Deciding whether to protect your invention by trade secret or by patent can be complicated, but doing neither can lead to loss of competitive advantage and diminished margins.

     

    Trade Secrets

    There are federal and state laws, both criminal and civil, that protect your trade secrets.  A trade secret is any information you have that is secret and gives you a competitive advantage.  Loss of a trade secret means your competitors can use that information however they want to gain an edge over you, including copying your product designs and technology. I can help you develop in-house policies and procedures that will preserve your trade secret protection:

     

    • Limit access to trade secret documents.
    • Label trade secret documents and drawings as confidential and proprietary.
    • Modify the employee handbook to include warnings about misuse of trade secrets.
    • Modify non-compete clauses to address trade secrets.
    • Educate your engineering, R&D, marketing and sales staff on the proper handling of trade secrets.

     

    Trademarks

    Registering trademarks is inexpensive and should be done liberally by any company that develops products.  Even if you are only in the business of providing services, registered trademarks can give you a significant competitive advantage.  Many trademark rights can be lost without registration.  Loss of trademark means a competitor can use your company’s product name, service name, and even the company’s name itself, ultimately misleading your customers into thinking they are buying the same quality goods and services you produce from another supplier. With the cost of registration so low, it is generally better to register the mark of each product.

    Comments