Entrepreneur’s Intellectual Property Primer Part One

Co-authored By Punita Bhasin, Esq and Luis M. Montes, Esq.

Innovation is the backbone of modern economy, it is creating wealth from means which were unthinkable before. As an entrepreneur it is important for you to identify the innovative ideas also known as intellectual property assets and utilize the means available to protect your assets. This article highlights aspects of importance of intellectual property assets, its identification and protection.
Having a reasonable knowledge of intellectual property will help businesses leaders and managers to protect and incorporate these assets into their business strategy and growth. Intellectual property law protects more than just an idea or a concept – it protects valuable business assets that may be integral to the core services of the business and long-term profitability.

Intellectual Property (IP, hereafter) is regarded as a powerful business tool. The authors of this article posit that it is a valuable business asset that can accelerate success by providing strong protection for the owner’s ideas. In the present business environment this is specifically pertinent as modern economy is driven by ideas and innovation. IP is a creation of the mind, providing the creator certain exclusive rights under the law. But it is the owner’s responsibility to identify and secure them. There are various reasons for protecting IP rights, including protecting brand advantage such that competitors cannot use the idea associated with that particular brand, without permission and securing IP rights so that competitors cannot use your technologies to improve their platform, without proper compensation to you. However, it must be adequately and timely protected.

Innovation Trends Currently Observed In Commerce
With the fast-changing business environment, IP is ever more important in our current business culture because businesses need to innovate to survive. Earlier, innovation was limited to big corporations. However, now you see start-ups anywhere and everywhere. You see a start-up as micro-businesses, in the neighborhood restaurant or in a teenager’s bedroom. A big reason is the interconnectivity of the world which brings in resources, manpower and technologies accessible from anywhere around the world. Few examples of innovation in recent times include, e-commerce companies, e-finance companies and social networking companies.
Introduction; What is IP?
IP is a basket of different rights that can be and are divided into; confidential information, trade secret, copyright, trademark, trade dress, database rights, designs, patents, and the little known protection of Geographical Indication. IP can be the original ideas conceived and developed in commerce by people. It can also take the form of logos, client lists, business procedures, corporate identity, products, products originating from a certain place, services, methods, devices, and processes that differentiate your business.

These IP assets are important to businesses, as they are intangible assets that can be leveraged, licensed or sold like physical property. Every business possesses such assets, whether they are aware of it or not.

When Or Why Is Protection Needed?
Protect your profits.

When a business is establishing its presence in the marketplace, protecting and managing its intellectual property is critical as it can mean the difference between success or failure. It is important for an entrepreneur to understand different forms of IP and timely identify them because some involve a formal application process before protections arise, while others come into play without the need for a formal process. Some forms of IP are exclusive to Federal jurisdiction, while others are specifically state issues or they can be a combination of both.

Procedurally securing your IP rights adds value to your business. It helps in raising investment money; placing your position as a strong market player, deter competitors in copying your idea. It also renders you a desirable candidate for mergers or acquisitions.

IP protection is necessary for any size business that has a plan to protect its assets; even huge corporations have experienced infringement and have filed multi-million-dollar lawsuits; for example, the smartphone disputes between Apple and Samsung.

Our next article in this series will include a glossary with a brief description of different types of IP. The co-author’s intent is to briefly develop these IP types in future articles.

These IP assets are important to businesses, as they are intangible assets that can be leveraged, licensed or sold like physical property. Every business possesses such assets, whether they are aware of it or not.

What General Protections Are Available?
Secure your ideas.

As repeated many times in this article, timely identifying and protecting your IP assets is the key for a successful business. Businesses often focus more on establishing an inventory, marketplace, infrastructure, team and marketing giving least importance to their IP assets. Once the business is successful and they see a competitor, they explore their IP and legal options. Many times. It is often late to act because your idea or your IP asset is already in the market for people to freely use and copy. Therefore, it is advisable to involve a business and IP attorney in your business strategy and planning who can help you secure your ideas and add value to your business.

It’s easier than you think.

It may seem initially daunting or time consuming, but protecting your IP is well worth the time and effort and isn’t as difficult as you may think. Whilst you cannot protect an idea itself, you can protect the means by which you put the idea into commerce by implementing the different branches of IP law.

We Can Help Start The Process To Protect Your IP.
If you want to apply for a patent, registered design or trademark this can be done through an intellectual property office, either on your own or together with your business law – intellectual property attorney. Call us to learn more about IP, we are available to guide and help you discover which areas of your business you need to protect, and how to go about it.

This article is authored as part one of a three-part IP educational article aimed to clarify the different types of IP and the protections each affords. This article is co-authored by business and corporate law practitioner, Luis M. Montes and IP practitioner Ms. Punita Bhasin. Their contact information is listed below.

The authors may be contacted at:

Punita Bhasin
Law Offices of Punita Bhasin
3501 Lone Tree Way, Suite 4
Antioch, CA 94509
925. 384. 0370

Luis M. Montes
Law Offices of Luis M. Montes
580 California St, Suite 1617
San Francisco, CA 94104
510. 749. 1036

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