IP protection for new startup

How Should A New Startup Approach IP Protection?

When you set up a business in New York, or anywhere in the U.S., it is imperative that you take steps to protect your brands, trademarks, and other intellectual property. IP rights are valuable assets that can be used as security for loans, to distinguish your business from competitors, to offer your customers something unique, and even provide you an important revenue stream.

Think From A Global Perspective

An important step to take while protecting your brand is to utilize a global perspective. Whether you are manufacturing products in a foreign country or advertising a service or product online, you should not only consider seeking trademark protection in your key markets, but also in countries where infringement is not under control. Unlike the U.S. where you can obtain your trademark rights through use, there are other major economic markets that are first-to-file or civil code countries. The latter means that trademark rights are granted to the first entity or person that files a trademark application/registration.

Consider Using Service Marks And Trademarks

TM is a symbol is typically used to inform potential infringers that a logo, slogan, or term is being claimed as a trademark. The function of the symbol SM is similar to the aforementioned and provides notice that an entity has claimed common-law rights in a mark. As the name suggests, SM covers services such as legal and banking services, rather than tangible goods. You may use designations like SM and TM if your trademarks are not registered and you can even continue using them even if your trademark is registered.

Form An Intellectual Property Audit Team

If you wish to best determine what assets you own and what needs to be protected, it is recommended that you form a team to audit your intellectual property, which includes patents, manuals, books, service marks, trademarks, and more. In most cases, your attorney should be the one to head, or at least, assist this team.

Hire An In-House Counsel

If you are looking to hire an in-house counsel for your business, you will be relieved to know that it is an affordable endeavor these days as many attorneys are willing to provide low monthly retainer solutions. You will be able to use their services for foregoing tasks and other essential monthly functions. By working with a good attorney, you will add tremendous value to your startup. The benefits you gain will outweigh the small monthly expense in no time.

Create A Well-Rounded IP Protection Plan

Consult with your attorney, who specialize in IP law, and start drafting a comprehensive plan designed to protect your IP and ensure that your startup has the necessary procedures in place to protect your intellectual property and other trade secrets. A proactive lawyer is essential to have to assist you in this task.

Don’t Forget To Register Your Intellectual Property

In the early stages of your startup, you should have registered your intellectual property. You can register your trademarks via the United States Patent & Trademark Office. USPTO is designed to provide legal protection for an entity’s symbols, logos, and business. If you have created a technology that requires a patent, you can consult with a patent attorney. If your intellectual property is not utilized in foreign or interstate commerce and you are not likely to operate outside of New York, consider getting a state-registered mark.

When in doubt, do not hesitate to seek advice from an intellectual property attorney.