Technology Attorneys

Identifying Your Company’s IP

We live in a world that is greatly influenced by technological advancements; business, health, education are just some of the spheres where we have witnessed revolutions. One of the more obvious changes is in business with automation, big data, machine learning, etc. But more interestingly, corporate value has evolved from the physical to the digital. Nowadays, your company’s value can literally lie in your Intellectual Property (IP).

Tech companies are created to meet the ever-growing demand for technology products. They offer a range of products and services that make it easy for individuals, organizations, and countries to adapt to the high-tech world that is our modern reality. To offer the best services, they have to protect their IP. But protecting their IP can only happen when said IP has been identified and registered. So, if you are looking to identify and protect your tech company’s IP, then you might want to read this article to the end.

List Company Products and Services

This allows you to create a list of your company offerings or product lines. It might be a tasking and time-consuming operation, but it is worthwhile in the long run as you will be able to identify all the IP in your business. Especially those that you didn’t know about. Your company offerings can either be products or services. 

  • Products: These are made to sell or gift. Products are tangible and easily identified.
  • Services Are more intangible are often rendered to customers. Services are often in the form of gene knots, software-as-service or technology consulting. In most cases, services go hand-in-hand with products. It all depends on what your tech company is about.

Categorize

The next step is to categorize your tech company’s products and services. While this is not exhaustive, here is a description of the main categories of IP.

  • Trademark: This can cover the company name, logo, slogan or the names of products and services. Trademarks are designed to separate your company’s offerings from others in the market. They are your corporate identity and should be protected at all costs.
  • Patents: This coversinventions. Registered patents give your company the right to exploit the invention within the time frame specified in the patent registration.  Patent law is a specialty within IP and you should consult a patent attorney to see if your invention can be registered and whether a patent or provisional patent is for you.
  • Trade secrets: They are considered as the alternative to patents and are mutually exclusive.  The best example of a trade secret is the Coca Cola recipe.
  • Copyright: Copyright protection covers tangible expressions of ideas. The product has to be original. Your company software and computer programs fall into this category. Review the categorizations so that you know where your offerings fall into. Be sure to put them in the right category because this will affect the way the IP is protected.

Assess 

A strategic assessment of your assets and protection will help your business in its valuations and get it ready for sale, if that’s your direction.  Too broad of an IP portfolio might be costly and hard to maintain running the risk that your important IP may fall through the cracks in terms of maintenance and policing.

You want to assess what is key to your brand and you should do so on an ongoing basis.

Assess Your Intellectual Property

Protect Your Intellectual Property

Ways to Join Forces with another Company

For so many tech start-ups and new businesses, one way to boost performance, increase profit and stay competitive is teaming up with seasoned professional and companies that are skilled in the game. Through these firms, the new start-ups can have an amazing opportunity to participate in government contracts as subcontractors and also get the exposure and experience to scale through the competitive business landscape while receiving detailed guidance from experienced contractors. 

In teaming up with other businesses, there are some level of partnership and agreement that must be entered into by both firms. Some of these terms include the following:

Strategic alliance: Strategic alliance is a relationship between two or more businesses in orders to pursue a set of agreed goals and meet a critical need while remaining independent. This allows companies, especially start-ups, to expand their documented capabilities and pursue projects beyond their normal capabilities.

Teaming agreement: This, on the other hand, involves two firms, partnering on a single proposal. It can also be described as a prime/subprime contract between two parties where one of the teams pursue a contract as the prime vendor.  The terms between the prime and subprime vendors are outlined in the Teaming Agreement.  One of the benefits of this type of contract is that it allows parties to pool resources from a limited purpose without acquiring a joint venture entity. 

Collaboration contract:  This is also known as a collaboration agreement; it involves two people or companies collaborating to pursue a defined goal. It is a specie of unincorporated joint venture because the collaborators must also contribute resources and decide who owns the proceeds. 

Joint venture: This involves two different companies, individuals or businesses coming together to partner as joint parties. These companies agree to combine their skill, knowledge, efforts, and resources but not permanently.  Each party maintains their own identity.

Things to consider when choosing a partner

As a start-up, there are so many factors to consider before entering into an agreement or any form of contract with tech companies and professionals; some of these factors include:

  • Positive client standing
  • Clarity of commitment and communication
  • Business ethics and trust
  • Capabilities to deliver on time.
  • Does your contract allow for Subcontracting?  Check the fine print.

Finally, every tech start-up entering into an agreement with professionals must understand all terms in an agreement before teaming up with one. 

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