Many considerations need to be made when starting or growing your business. Establishing and safeguarding your intellectual property (IP) is a vital component to any company's business plan, as it can help to avoid future infringement disputes and other conflicts.
Intellectual property includes everything from trademarks for your brand names, colors and logos to copyrights for your creative works to patents for distinctive products and inventions. What specific type of IP protection you need can vary depending on your brand, your industry and the unique qualities of your business.
Since smaller business entities lack the resources for complex IP litigation, it is important to take other measures to protect your business from copyright piracy, trademark counterfeiting and patent infringement. A good place to start to examine the level of IP protection your business needs is through the following:
- Review your business brand and collateral - Do you have business creations, ideas or inventory that may qualify for trademark, copyright, patent or other IP status?
- Determine your business markets - Where will you be conducting business? Will you need U.S. IP protection only or will your products or services also be in any international markets?
- Perform a cost-benefit analysis - Does it make sense financially and for your type of business to have IP protections in place? If so, to what extent?
- Consider having legal representation - Are you intellectual property issues more complex? Or do you need the peace of mind that advice and guidance from an experienced lawyer can provide?