Intellectual Property Protection
How to protect your Intellectual Property (IP)
Intellectual property includes intangible assets such as original ideas, expressive works, and the words, images, sounds, and colors that express brand. Memorializing and using protection tools allow intellectual property to properly sit as a meaningful asset on the company’s balance sheet which increases the company’s value. Business valuation studies consistently demonstrate that intellectual property assets, as opposed to physical assets, actually appreciate in value.
In our book, You Snooze, You Lose, we explain that the window to protect intellectual property closes before the opportunity to make significant revenue begins - which is an entrepreneur’s paradox. Protecting an entrepreneur’s intellectual property is both our mission and our passion. We offer a free initial analysis to learn about your business and outline a customized IP strategy for your organization.
The tools we utilize to protect intellectual property include:
- Patent¹: Allows holders to protect an “invention” over a certain period of years in exchange for the publication of the invention. Successful patent holders monetize the invention quickly and have adequate capital to police against infringers. An example of a successful patent strategy is Viagra whose maker Eli Lilly realized over $1.5 billion of revenue for between the years 2003-2017. When the patent expires in 2020, the drug will be generic and revenue is expected to substantially decline.
- Trademarks: Protect brand internationally, at a Federal level, and/or in various states or provinces. Brand includes the name, the logo, the look and feel, the products, the sounds and the colors used to market to the consumer. Successful trademarks include Apple Computers and Google. The process is much cheaper and more efficient than a patent, and EmergeCounsel’s TotalTM® provides comprehensive, low-cost trademark protection at a fraction of the price of large law firms.
- Copyright: A bundle of rights that generally protects creative content. A number of our clients utilize this protection for computer code, marketing copy and as additional protection for logo art. The cost is generally low.
- Trade Secret: A contract made between the company and its vendors, employees, and/or independent contractors to protect information not generally known. The contract is protected by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act which allows for state and Federal law enforcement against disclosure of the secrets. A great example of a trade secret is the Big Mac secret sauce or the Coca-Cola formula. A trade secret is many times a cheaper, more effective tool than patent.
We weave these tools into a tight-knit “sweater” of protection. We generally memorialize our work through a memorandum to explain the strategy, track the protection and make stakeholders (e.g. managers, directors, officers, investors, accountants, general counsel, and/or potential acquirers) apprised of the protection and the value thereof.
We also enforce IP rights using cease and desist tactics, United States Patent and Trademark Office proceedings, and in state and Federal court.
¹ EmergeCounsel does not employee Patent Attorneys. We are very familiar with and study patent strategies and refer to various patent agents and/or attorneys to effectuate patent strategies.
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