How Can a Business Owner Ensure Intellectual Property Is Protected?
If you are a Connecticut business owner or soon will be, you may have countless tasks and obligations on your mind. You may be developing a business plan, working on marketing strategies, researching your competition, meeting with investors, drafting contracts, and more. However, one issue you may not have yet considered is how you will protect your intellectual property. You have probably spent a great deal of time and energy developing your business ideas, marketing slogans, website design, logos, and other business material. Protecting these types of intellectual property is a crucial step in forming a successful business.
The three main legal tools for legally protecting intellectual property are trademarks, patents, and copyrights. A trademark provides protection against other parties’ use of certain symbols, words, phrases, or designs that identify your products or services. You may want to trademark your company’s name, the brand names of products and services, the business’s logo, marketing slogans, and other brand-specific intellectual property. Because you will likely need to register each of your trademarks separately, securing trademark protection can sometimes be a challenging task. An experienced business attorney can help you understand what types of material you should trademark and how to accomplish this important legal process.
Copyrights and Patents
Depending on the type of business you own, you may also need to acquire certain copyrights. Music, literature, dramatic works, graphics, pictures, videos, and computer programs may all be eligible for copyright. Once you have secured copyright protection, you will have the exclusive rights to duplicate, modify, and distribute the work. Patents are often used to protect unique inventions. According to the U.S. Patent Office, a work must be novel, non-obvious, and useful in order to be eligible for protection through a patent.
Protecting Trade Secrets Through a Nondisclosure Agreement
Trade secrets refer to confidential business practices or information that provides a competitive edge. Proprietary processes, designs, formulas, recipes, techniques, programs, codes, and prototypes may be considered trade secrets. You cannot register a trade secret with a government office as with trademarks, copyrights, and patents. However, you can use other legal tools to protect this valuable information from getting into the wrong hands. One of the best ways to ensure that proprietary information is not shared or misused is through the use of nondisclosure agreements. A nondisclosure agreement (NDA) is a contract that forms a confidential relationship between two parties and prohibits one or more parties from disclosing or using certain information. You may use an NDA when you are sharing sensitive information with potential investors, employees, or other companies or individuals. If a party breaches the terms of the nondisclosure agreement, you have the right to file a court action for monetary damages.
Contact a Fairfield County Business Acquisition Lawyer
If you are a business owner, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect your intellectual property from being used against you and your company. The laws regulating trademarks, patents, copyrights, and trade secrets can be complex and difficult to interpret. For dependable legal guidance regarding your business’s intellectual property, contact a skilled Stamford, CT business law attorney from the Law Offices of Peter V. Lathouris, LLC. Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation.