Starting a new business can be a daunting endeavor. There are many things to consider such as raising capital, hiring the right employees, developing a marketing plan and executing a sales strategy.
One of the most important aspects of starting a business is ensuring the business is legally compliant and protected. Unfortunately, this is one of the last areas considered by startup entrepreneurs. Â All businesses need consultation to legally organize the business, ensure it is compliant with various governmental entities, review and negotiate contracts and adequately protect the business’ assets.
A very important asset of any business is intellectual property. Intellectual property is creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Â All businesses own some type of intellectual property. For example, it can be a mobile application; a brand name, tag line or logo; or a formula or recipe.
Having a strategy that adequately addresses how to protect and benefit from owning intellectual property is essential to a successful business. Here are three top reasons having an intellectual property strategy is key to any business venture:
1.Â Insurance: Another business may have priority or competing rights against your company’s intellectual property.Â This scenario can restrict your company’s growth or result in legal action against your company. Â It is imperative that companies perform intellectual property searches to ensure they can legally use the company’s intellectual property.
2.Â Infringement protection: A competing business may decide to use your company’s intellectual property (names, logos, inventions, marketing strategies) as their own due to the fact your company has built goodwill or has developed a strong brand.Â This scenario can result in lost customers, sales, or business. Â A business’ ownership of intellectual property gives the business the right to stop infringers and legally pursue infringers for loss income.
3. Royalty income earnings: Licensing of intellectual property is a great source of income for any business. Â If a business does not own or protect its intellectual property assets, the business can miss out on the opportunity to earn royalty income from licensing.
Latoicha Givens (@iplaw101) is a practicing intellectual property law attorney and social media enthusiast. Â She is the founding partner of the firm, Phillips Givens LLC. Her practice area includes trademarks, copyrights, licensing and legal issues in new media. Ms. Givens is a frequent speaker and writer on legal issues in social media. Â She has been a speaker at BlogHer, Blogalicious, and the Miller Brewing Company Entrepreneurship Series. Â She has provided commentary and detailed analysis of intellectual property issues in social media and IP infringement litigation as a legal columnist for Black Web 2.0 and The Brand Protection Council.