IP, or Intellectual Property, refers to the inventions and creations of a business.
There are 4 basic types of legal protection you can acquire to protect your business’s IP:
- Patent: A patent holder has the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.
- Trademark: The owner of a trademark has the right to prevent others from using a word, symbol, or some device which is used to distinguish the business owner’s goods and services from another business’s goods and services. These forms of identity include words, slogans, symbols, and a product’s packaging and appearance.
- Copyright: The owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce copyrighted work. These works include original literary works, computer programs, musical works and audiovisual works.
- Trade Secret: Trade secrets law protects a business’s secrets. Under state and federal law, the owner of a trade secret can prevent the unauthorized use of confidential information, such as a formula, process, device or compilation of information used in the owner’s business.
Here are a few scenarios illustrating why your company should be concerned about its IP.
- You receive a cease-and-desist letter informing you that you cannot continue to use your business name.
- A competitor starts producing products in the same type of packaging as your products.
- The web address with your business name is not available.
- You invent a product and suddenly several companies spring up selling similar products.
- Another company distributes manuals substantially similar to those developed by your business.
- You learn another company is using your logo.
- One of the founders of your business leaves and demands payment for the sale of products he helped develop.
- A disgruntled employee leaves your business and starts soliciting your customers and undercutting your prices.
For more information, please contact Kathy Tremmel at Tremmel Law, PLLC at (512) 539-0317 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathy Tremmel has significant experience both as a business attorney and corporate executive. Her career spans both legal practice and business management and she opened her own solo law practice in January 2010.