|1.||Gain access to additional markets by licensing to supplier of complementary product|
|2.||Generate revenue from your technology that you are not using by licensing to another|
|3.||Reduce supply costs by exchanging technology for supplies or services|
|4.||Gain access to new technology by cross-licensing with another technology owner (competitor or other)|
|5.||Resolve or avoid conflicts over competitor's patent(s) by cross-licensing with competitor|
|6.||Provide collateral for financing|
|7.||Provide assets for valuation in sale, capital infusion, etc.|
|8.||Establish assets for continuity of business beyond individual founder|
|9.||Attract capital by creating barrier to entry of competitors|
|10.||Discourage entry of competitors by creating actual or perceived barrier to entry|
|11.||Promote the uniqueness and innovativeness of product and company|
|12.||Create pride among inventive employees|
The above ideas represent what may be possible in different situations, and are not exhaustive of the possibilities. Of course, whether and how these or other ideas may apply to your situation will vary. Therefore, you should consider and implement any of them only with qualified professional assistance.
A professional advisor with experience matching legal solutions to business goals can help you identify how to implement a program to help you meet your goals.
In many respects, intellectual property rights can be treated the same as rights in other types of property (land, buildings, trucks, equipment, etc.). For example, an intellectual property right may be sold, leased (licensed), pledged, or otherwise transferred, either in its entirety or partially. There are, however, restrictions on transferring trademark rights apart from the business with which the trademark is associated.
A trespass upon an intellectual property right is generally referred to as an "infringement." Redress for such infringement may be sought in a court action for enforcement of the particular intellectual property right. The elements that have to be proved to support a case of infringement differ for each type of intellectual property. Infringement cases are usually filed in court. However, there are some instances in which infringers can be pursued in other forums.
A patent is a grant by the government to the inventor of an
invention. A patent grant allows the inventor to prevent others
from making, using, or selling, in the country in which the patent
is issued, the invention covered by the patent.
The most common type of patent is the utility patent, which may
be granted to anyone who invents a new and useful process, machine,
article of manufacture, or composition of matter. Design patents
are also available to those who invent new, original, and ornamental
designs for articles of manufacture. Plant patents
may be granted to those who invent or discover and asexually
re-produce (by grafts and cuts) distinct and new varieties of
To get a patent, you must file a patent application with the
government. The patent application includes a complete description
of the invention. Patent protection does not begin until the
government has examined the application and determined that the
invention is entitled to a patent.
Patent protection must be obtained in each country in which it is desired.
A trademark is a word, symbol, design (logo), combination
of letters or numbers, or other device (including a sound or
smell!) that identifies and distinguishes products and services
of one source from those of another. Trademarks represent the
"goodwill" of a business. In many instances, the term
"trademark" is used for a mark associated with goods,
and of the term "service mark" is used for a mark associated
with services. Here, we will use the term "trademark"
regardless of whether it is applied to goods or services.
Customers distinguish that business and its goods and services
from other businesses on the basis of the trademark.
The owner of the trademark may prevent another business from
adopting and using a trademark that is likely to cause customers
or potential customers to be confused as to the source of the
goods or services to which the two marks are applied. "Likelihood
of confusion" is determined by comparing both the marks themselves
and the goods or services to which the marks are applied.
In the United States, you can acquire trademark rights simply
by using your trademark. You do not have to register your trademark
with the government. However, registration simplifies certain
aspects of the trademark enforcement process if you ever need
to pursue an infringer. In addition, registration of your trademark
puts your trademark in the databases that others are likely to
search before adopting a new trademark, which may reduce the
possibility that they will adopt a trademark that is likely to
be confused with your trademark. Finally, in certain circumstances
you can file a registration application to "reserve"
a trademark before actual use of the trademark has begun.
You may register your trademark in the United States Trademark
Office for nationwide protection, if certain conditions are met.
You may also register your trademark in each state in which the
trademark is used. You may use the trademark registration symbol
® only if the trademark has been registered with the
US Trademark Office. Without a federal registration you should
use the trademark symbol .
In most countries outside the United States, you can get trademark rights only by registration. In those countries, use of the trademark does not confer trademark rights.
Copyright is an exclusive property right in an original work
of authorship that is fixed in a tangible form. The copyright
allows the copyright owner to prevent others from making copies
of the work, presenting public performances of the work, and
certain other specific activities.
Many types of works may be copyrighted: literary works (including
computer programs and databases); musical works (including accompanying
words); dramatic works (including accompanying music); pantomimes
and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
motion pictures and other audiovisual works; architectural works;
and sound recordings.
Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure,
process, concept, or discovery. However, the specific explanation
or illustration of such ideas may be protected by copyright.
Copyright protection begins immediately when the work is created. You do not have to register the copyright. However, you get certain advantages if the copyright is registered, and you must register your copyright before filing a lawsuit against an infringer.. Whether or not you register the copyright, you may put the copyright notice on the work ("© [year of first publication], [name of copyright holder]").
Trade Secret Rights
A trade secret right is a right to keep information secret.
The "trade secret" (or "confidential information")
may be any information that has value because it is not widely
known. Trade secret rights are often claimed in "know-how"
that provides a competitive advantage, such as manufacturing
techniques, financial information, customer lists, and research
and development activities.
The key element of a trade secret is its secrecy. You must take
certain steps to protect the secrecy of that information. Such
steps may include keeping the information under lock and key,
limiting who has access to the information, notifying those who
have access to the information of its secrecy, and requiring
those who have access to the information to sign confidentiality
(or non-disclosure) agreements.
There is no government registration process for trade secrets. You may not be able to get the same protection for trade secrets in countries other than the United States.