Your startup now has a firm financial footing, and you're ready to add staff and move to a larger office. Your growth plan includes working closely with other companies on new products and tapping into the global marketplace. As your business expands, it's important to protect those intellectual assets that made you successful. Here are some of the areas in your business to keep safe as you grow.
Protecting New Ideas
You need to declare ownership of those new ideas and products to prevent them from being copied by others. Patents are a way to protect those ideas as you get them to market. A patent lawyer will help you through the complicated patent application process. Items that are eligible for a patent must be unique and useful, or else they are categorized as common use. Your patent attorney will help you decide which items can be patented to protect your interests.
Protecting Your Brand
Your brand includes all of the logos, words and phrases used to describe your company. Trademark protection is used to prevent others from infringing on your brand. An attorney specializing in trademark law will make sure those symbols continue to refer to your business alone and that consumers won't be confused by companies that copy your images and phrases.
Protecting Internal Assets
As you develop working relationships with other companies to produce and distribute new products, you both have the need to protect intellectual assets that need to be shared. Partner agreements specify which materials each company has access to with strict warnings against using or sharing the information outside of the business relationship. You will need non-compete and non-disclosure agreements with your partners to delineate the boundaries of information sharing.
You will need similar contracts for people you hire, especially contractors and consultants you bring in for specific assignments. Employee and contractor agreements are necessary to keep information within your company. Since contractors and consultants work with a variety of businesses, often within your industry, it's important to establish agreements with them that information cannot be shared with other clients.
Protecting Your Global Interests
As you expand into the world wide market, you'll need people who can help you to understand the patent, trademark and import/export laws of other countries. You will need to comply with their rules and regulations while keeping your products and brand safe.
Protecting your intellectual assets as you grow keeps you competitive in your market. Every business is looking for that special market niche that they can control. Don't lose yours by letting your important information slip out of the door when you're not looking. Read more here.