What is an IP checklist?
An IP checklist helps a startup company to make sure that fundamental IP rights are adequately protected. At a minimum, startups should take necessary steps to register trademarks and file patent applications for any unique concepts.
Here are some key IP issues that entrepreneurs should consider during the early stages of a company’s growth:
- branding and timing
- identifying unique product features that might be patent-worthy
- international IP rights
- what types of IP rights might your business have to protect
- key considerations before going public with a new product or idea
- costs of filing trademark applications and patent applications, and flat fees
- potential infringement risks
- how to find a patent attorney that is a good fit for your company
How do IP issues relate to corporate issues?
At times, there can be significant overlap between your IP issues and your corporate issues. For example, choosing the right entity formation at the outset will affect the ownership of your IP rights. You may need to have licensing agreements drafted that involve your patent or trademark rights. Using a firm that can handle both your corporate and IP matters may be advantageous.
Not all IP attorneys are the same
An effective IP strategy requires not only a thorough IP checklist, but a patent attorney who can implement both the patent and trademark filings. Not all IP attorneys are the same. Some focus only on trademark filings since they are not patent attorneys registered with the USPTO. Others may file patent applications, but not trademark applications. Some attorneys focus more on IP litigation. Some might not even be attorneys, but patent agents. You’ll need dig a little deeper to find the particular areas of expertise in order to find a patent attorney that is the right fit for your business, especially if you have a combination of IP rights to protect.
Where can you find a useful startup IP checklist?
TechStartupLawyer.com has a Startup Intellectual Property Checklist broken down into four parts.