Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why a Start-Up Company REALLY Needs Intellectual Property Advice From the Beginning

The biggest surprise of being an attorney (I passed the bar, so I am an attorney now!!), which it shouldn't have been, is that people do not think of so many issues when it comes to their own businesses. My example is going to come from the inventor's perspective.

A person, scientist or engineer, develops a great idea, truly something revolutionary. They find the money, either from a private investor, a bank (HA!!), or family and friends. They put together a business, rent space, hire help, file taxes. And along the way they do not set up a way to actually protect their intellectual property. The issue is, they do not need to immediately file for patent protection. But they do need to figure out a way to keep things secret. And for academics they really need to NOT PUBLISH A PAPER on the issue.

There are ways they can do this. And if they would take a few minutes with an IP attorney, doesn't have to be a patent attorney, just someone that knows about licensing, employment contracts and nondisclosure agreements.

Okay, so if you are developing a new business you aren't usually flush with cash. I just wish that these folks understood that the money spent now could save them from basically losing everything later. The consequences of making mistakes at the beginning can lead to:

1. An employee taking your IP
2. An inability to get a patent
3. Reverse engineered out from under you (which is not illegal)

And the ultimate ending is that you are sitting there, having completed all the research and development, put in the sweat time, and you have bupkiss.

I have seen the results twice now and each time I almost want to cry. Just imagine for a minute what that person (and you) feels like coming into your office and you have to tell them that there is little you can do. It sucks a lot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on passing the bar!!!!!!