INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY(MUCH OF THIS DISCUSSION ISIN YOUR TEXTBOOK) Any patents, trademarks, copyrights, or trade secrets held by the entrepreneur. Intellectual property can be a significant source of sustainable competitive advantage (SCA). Depending on the type of intellectual property you may need to hire a lawyer.
ESTABLISHING LEGAL PROTECTION - A new product - A new method - A process - A new service - A new promotional or merchandising approach - New packaging - A new design
SELECTING A LAWYER Lawyer may work on a: Retainer basis. One-time fee. A good working relationship with a lawyer: Eases some of the risk in starting a new business. Gives the entrepreneur necessary confidence. Entrepreneur can offer lawyer stock in exchange for the services.
PATENTSA contract between the government and the inventor whichgives the inventor an exclusive right to produce and marketa product (creates a legal monopoly for a set period of time).Apply to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO)(before trying to patent a product, do a search on thePTO website).Patent holders are responsible for defending them – not thegovernment. Can sell or license patented technology.You have international protection through GATT.
OTHER PATENTS Utility Patents are the most common form of patent. Design Patents cover only the new design of an object – its ornamental appearance (last 14 years). Examples include designs for shoes by Nike and Reebok Plant Patents are used for biotechnology inventions Provisional Patent Applications are less expensive ways to quickly protect your concept. Must then file a full application within the next year.
PATENT INFRINGEMENT Many businesses, inventions, or innovations are results of improvements on, or modifications of, existing products. Copying and improving on a product: May be perfectly legal A good business strategy. Products can be licensed from the patent holder. Advisable to hire a patent attorney to ensure no possibility of patent infringement.
TRADEMARKSProtection is obtainable for any word, name, symbol, or combination thereof that is used on goods to indicate their source (music tones/jingles can also be trademarked)Four types:4. Coined marks denote not relationship between the mark and the goods or services (e.g., Polaroid, Kodak).5. An arbitrary mark (e.g., Apple Computer)6. A suggestive mark (e.g., Pampers)4. A descriptive mark (e.g., Rollerblade)
TRADEMARKS Technically, you do not have to formally register trademark; however, must keep using it (3 year nonuse constitutes abandonment) Can register trademark in a state or with the Federal government (must use mark across State lines). Registering it gives you greater legal recourse and protection Cannot sell trademark w/out selling company or goodwill associated with the trademark
COPYRIGHTS Protects original works of authorship. Cover writings – “writings” broadly defined Includes: books, ads, brochures, spec sheets, catalogs, manuals, parts lists, promotional materials, packaging, and decorative graphics, fabric designs, photographs, pictures, film and video presentations, audio recordings, architectural designs, and software and databases
COPYRIGHTS Utilitarian object (physical invention) cannot receive a copyright Term of copyright extends for the life of the author plus 70 years. For works made for hire or by institutions , The period is 75 years from first publication or 100 years from creation, whichever is shorter Copyright owner can recover $500,000 w/out proof of deliberate copyright infringement
TRADE SECRETS Knowledge which may include business or technical knowledge that is kept secret for the purpose of gaining an advantage in business over competitors. Covers everything that patents cover but are protected eternally. (example: Coke formula) Disadvantage is that there is no protection against discovery by fair means (accident, independent inventions, reverse engineering).
TRADE SECRETS 4 PRIMARY STEPS FOR ENSURING SECRECY: 3. Confidential disclosure agreements 5. Security precautions to prevent outside parties from gaining information 7. Stamp specific documents dealing with trade secrets as confidential and limit access 9. Make sure that everyone concerned knows that they are trade secrets
LICENSING Contractual agreement giving rights to others to use intellectual property in return for a royalty or fee. Some questions to be considered by an entrepreneur: Will customers recognize licensed property? How much experience do I have with the licensed property? What is the long-term outlook for the licensed property? What kind of protection does the licensing agreement provide? What commitment do I have in terms of payment of royalties, sales quotas, and so on? Are renewal options possible and under what terms?