New Business Owners Should Avoid These IP Mistakes

For many new businesses, the most important asset owned by the company is the intellectual property (IP). Below are some of the common mistakes made when it comes to a new business’s IP:

  • If you were “moonlighting” while founding your new company while employed by somebody else, you could unwittingly permit your previous employer to have a claim to your start-up’s IP. This means that if you used your prior employer’s office, computer or telephone when creating the start-up, it could cause big problems. You should always review your employer’s handbook to see if there are any provisions that may grant your employer a claim to your new business’s IP.
  • Many business owners fail to assign the IP to their start-up entity. If the founder created the IP before the start-up company was incorporated, the IP should be legally assigned to the entity.
  • New business owners should require their partners, employees and independent contractors to sign protective agreements and invention assignment contracts.
  • When a new business chooses its name, logo or other identifying mark, it is essential that you do not use a mark that is “confusingly similar” to a mark or name that is being used by another party. Don’t mistake your registration with the state of incorporation as the same thing as having the legal right to use the trademark. Contact an attorney to perform a trademark search and register your mark with the USPTO to avoid any allegations of trademark infringement.
  • Establish a clear strategy for protecting your IP. If you need to protect trade secrets, obtain a patent or seek copyright protection, contact legal counsel for assistance in protecting your valuable IP.

Let us help answer your questions and provide you with the advice and guidance you need. Nielsen Law Group has offices in Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, AZ and Redlands, CA. Our attorneys and professional staff combine their in-depth knowledge of the law with practical and efficient strategies to determine the most effective approach to each client’s unique situation. Contact us today.