Intellectual Property Lawyer In Charlottesville, VA
Tech Startups and Intellectual Property
Intellectual property (IP) is important to a wide variety of businesses, especially to technology startups. If you are starting a tech company, consider taking the following steps recommended by an intellectual property lawyer in Charlottesville, VA to ensure the best protection of your IP and to avoid future business litigation.
Assign IP over to the company – It can be difficult to start and fund a successful company if a founder can simply take their idea and start their own independent company at any time. For this reason, all founders should sign legal documents specifying that ownership of any of their own intellectual property will be transferred to the company as a whole. You should also have a carefully drafted employment agreement ready for any non-founder employees that is in compliance with Virginia’s laws in order to avoid ownership disputes in the future.
Pick the right type of protections – Depending on the nature of your intellectual property, you may want to explore trade secret, patent, trademark, or copyright protections. Each protection has its own eligibility requirements, procedures, limitations, scope of protection, and more. It is important to consult with an IP attorney regarding which type is best for your tech startups. It is also important to sufficiently plan and budget for the particular protections that you need.
Be careful when shopping an app – If your tech startup has a new application (app) that you are shopping and/or testing, there are specific IP concerns that should be addressed. First, you may not want to seek a full patent and go through the complicated and costly process if you are unsure whether the app will be a success. For this reason, you may want to seek a provisional patent that gives you a “patent pending” status. This can still provide IP protections without requiring you to put forth the time and money required for a full patent while you determine whether the app and its underlying ideas are commercially viable.
In addition, if you are testing the marketability of the app, you may want to have parties sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This is a legal contract that prohibits a party from disclosing confidential information (such as information about your app program). This contract should be carefully drafted to include the scope of the duty not to disclose and the specific obligations of the parties who receive the information.
Consult with an Experienced Intellectual Property Lawyer
If you are part of a tech startup – or any type of startup – it is imperative that you cover all of the necessary bases when it comes to protecting your intellectual property. IP is often the basis for the success of technology companies and, if someone else misappropriated your idea or information, that success could be at risk. Whether you need advice on how to protect your IP or believe that you may have a legal dispute regarding IP, your first call should be to a skilled IP attorney. Call Dale Jensen, PLC today to set up a free and confidential consultation with an intellectual property lawyer Charlottesville, VA clients recommend.