Who is this for?
Many of my clients are brand new to intellectual property protection, patents, copyright, trademarks, and trade secrets. So a thought process like the one I will be describing might be very premature. But there are many small businesses to who intellectual property might be very important that are for the first time thinking it through and would like to do it in a disciplined manner. What I am going to describe is straightforward, but will give you a framework, and maybe a checklist, for doing it right.
The Starting Point
Think of this in four overall steps:
First - The identification and listing of all of your company's intellectual property.
This would include a listing of things in your business that may already have protection or are in the process of being protected.
And then to think through what else might need protection.
Second - begin the process of securing ownership of that IP. This would include registering or filing for protection of key things like patents, copyrights, and trademarks - and it would include things like documenting your IP strategy through employee agreements and other documents.
Third - intellectual property must not only be secured and registered once - but maintained going forward.
Fourth - if you own it and want to keep it you have to think through how you will enforce it. This will involve examining your legal options to remedy theft of IP. These include a) civil, b) criminal, and 3) administrative means.
Each of these four steps has a number of sub-steps you may need to think through.
If you are interested in following through on this the following links will explore each step in more detail:
Identification and listing of your IP.
The securing and registering of your IP.
Maintaining you IP (coming)
Enforcing your IP (coming)
Intellectual Property Protection
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Intellectual Property Law
Return to the intellectual property law page.
The Business of Patents Home Page
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Mike Ervin - Cost Effective Small Business Patent Protection.
If you have any questions on on this site - please feel free to contact me.