Businesses in all industries will have some type of intellectual property, or IP, that they need to focus on protecting. Your business’s IP helps distinguish it from competitors and allows you to offer products and services that others in your industry don’t have. Regardless of the size of your business, its success relies on its IP being kept a secret from outsiders. However, doing so is not always easy. You should never assume that others involved in your business won’t accidentally or intentionally provide this information to other businesses or the public. Intellectual property protection is essential to ensure that your business’s best interests are protected.
At Tressler & Associates, we know what a vital asset IP is to your business. Our intellectual property attorneys will work with you to ensure that your business’s IP is protected so you can feel confident that what makes your business successful is safe with you.
Trade secrets include inside information regarding the way a business operates that gives a business a competitive edge. Examples of trade secrets include formulas, practices, processes, and methods. As the name states, trade secrets are not shared with others, unlike other types of IP, such as patents.
Trade secrets can become a concern when employees leave a company and can possibly share this information with competitors. This makes it essential for businesses to have a plan in place that prevents sharing this information with outsiders. Non-compete and non-disclosure agreements can both help prevent trade secrets from getting out.
If you’ve created an original work of authorship, such as writing, art, videos, or music, copyright laws can help protect it. Copyright gives you legal ownership of your work, so only you and those you give permission can use and duplicate it. When you create an original work of authorship, you automatically have the copyright to it. However, to protect your IP as effectively as possible, you should have your copyright registered. In most cases, copyright is applicable for 70 years after the owner’s death.
You’ve worked hard to create your business’s brand. If you’re concerned about using various elements that your business uses to represent itself, you need a trademark, and possibly several of them. Trademarks are recognizable aspects of your brand that help distinguish your business from others like it. There are several different types of trademarks used for different categories, such as logos, names, and services. Having a trademark prevents other businesses from using what your business has created. Trademarks can be both registered and unregistered and do not expire so long as the business continues to make use of it. As with copyright, it’s recommended that you register your trademark.
Patents apply to new inventions, such as software, production processes, or machines. Having your invention patented gives you the right to it for a certain length of time. When your invention is patented, no one else can make or sell it. To have your idea patented, it needs to be “novel” and “non-obvious,” so you need to ensure that your invention meets the requirements if you plan to apply for a patent. There are several types of patents, so which one is right for your invention will vary. Getting a patent for your invention can be a difficult process, but will give you the rights to what you’ve created.
Intellectual property law can be complicated, so if you have something valuable that benefits your business that you need to secure, you need an intellectual property attorney to guide you. When businesses depend on what sets them apart and makes them competitive, they can’t afford to have others gain access to this. Tressler & Associates can determine what intellectual property protection methods are right for your business and help you implement them.
Contact our Tennessee entrepreneurial law firm today to learn more about intellectual property protection.
If you are in need of legal services, our team of experienced attorneys is here to help! If you need a lawyer now or are just in need of general counsel, we are happy to discuss your needs with you.