Any patents, trademarks, copyrights , or trade secrets held by entrepreneur. Since all business is regulated by law, entrepreneurs need legal advise at different stages of the startup.
Most lawyers have developed special expertise so the entrepreneurs should be careful in evaluating his/her needs before hiring one. Two ways for hiring a lawyer- How To Select A Lawyer
A Patent is a contract between the govt. and an inventor . The patent gives the owners a right which prevents anyone else from making , using , or selling the defined invention. Types of Patents- Legal Issues In Setting Up The Organization Patent
Utility patent gives the right of using invention to entrepreneurs for 20 years starting on date of filing with the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Ex- Film developing, chemical compounds etc A design patents covers new , original , ornamental and unobvious designs for articles of manufacture reflecting the appearance of an object. Ex- Shoe companies ( Nike & Reebok) etc. These are issued under the same provisions as utility patents and are for new varieties of plants which represents a limited of interest . Utility Patent Design Patent Plant Patent
A statement to Patent & Trademark Office by inventor disclosing intent to patent idea. To file a disclosure document, the entrepreneur must prepare a clear and concise description of the invention. The patent application must contain a complete history and description of the invention as well as claim for its usefulness. In general, application can be divided into three sectors- The Disclosure Document The Patent Application-
Introduction- contains background, advantage of the invention, nature of the problem and states how the invention defers from existing offering. Description of Invention- contains a brief description of drawings which include engineering specifications, materials, components. Claims- important criteria by which any infringements will be determined. Essential parts of the invention should be described in broad terms to prevent others from getting around the patent. …………… ..
Patent infringement is taking , copying , or using someone else’s owned patent issued by the Government without obtaining permission of the actual owner of the patent (invention). The permission can be obtained by contract , or license . Patent Infringement
Distinguishing word , name , or symbol use to identify a product. The trademark is given an initial 20-years registration with 20-year renewable terms. Coined marks- denote no relationship between the mark and the goods or services. e.g. Kodak , Mercedes etc Arbitrary marks- has different meaning in grammatical language and is applied to a product or service. Apple, Parachute etc. Suggestive marks- suggest certain features, qualities, ingredients, or characteristics of a product or service. e.g. White plus, Clean & Clear etc . Business Methods Pattern Trademark
Four Requirement For Filing The Trademark Registration- Registering The Trademark
A copyright protects original works of authorship by preventing others from printing , copying , or publishing any original works of authorship. Ex : Computer Software, books, scripts, articles, poems, songs, sculptures, models, maps, blueprints etc. Copyrights
Trade secrets are the protection against others revealing or disclosing information that could be damaging to business. Trade Secrets
Train employees to refer sensitive questions to one person.
Provide escorts for all office visitors.
Avoid discussing business in public place.
Keep important travel plans secret.
Control information that might be presented by employees at conference or published in journals.
Use simple security such as locked file cabinets, passwords on computers, and shredders where necessary.
Have employees and consultants sign nondisclosure agreements.
Avoid faxing any sensitive information.
Mark documents confidential when needed.
Some Ideas to Protect Trade Secrets
Licensing is an arrangement between two parties, where one party has proprietary rights over some information , process , or technology protected by a patent , trademark , or copyright . Product safety and liability is the responsibility of a company to meet any legal specifications regarding a new product covered by the Consumer Product Safety Act . Licensing Product Safety and Liability
A promise of compensation for specific potential future losses in exchange for a periodic payment . Two parties- Insurance
A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties as long as certain conditions are met. Contracts