You have an idea, incorporated a company and are now living the startup nation dream. One of the most complex tasks ahead of you is the protection of your tangible assets standing in the heart of your venture.
You have an idea, concept or technology and founded a startup for the development and marketing of the revolutionary product or service based on such innovative idea or technology. And in short, you are now living the startup nation dream. One of the most complex tasks ahead of you is the protection of your tangible assets standing in the heart of your venture, from the beginning of the venture, while you are working to develop it and your resources are limited.
Find below a list of tips that will assist you in the initiation of your journey in the complex world of intellectual property.
The founders agreement – an agreement regulating the relationship between the startup founders and the company at its initial stage. You have to insists to define the company’s field of engagement in a sufficiently clear and detailed manner. The agreement shaould include a section by which the founders transfer the relevant intellectual property to the company. Further, it is important that the agreement properly provides for the restrictions on the founders freedom to compete with the company, including if and after their activity with the company ends.
The intellectual property’s location – correct initial location of the intellectual property at the may save endless trouble and tax exposures in the future. Further, the focusing of intellectual property registration to the locations relevant to the company operations may decrease expenses in the beginning. Note various support plans, such as Israeli Innovation Authority grants, which may impose actual restrictions on the transfer of the intellectual property from Israel.
Unregistered intellectual property – You should examine what intellectual property rights you may have without registration. For example, in many jurisdictions, you may be entitled to protection of commercial secretes and certain commercial names even without registration. In such framework, you should explore how complex is your idea or technology, for instance, source codes of certain software may protect it even without registration.
Intellectual property registration – you should check which intellectual property registration can be relevant for you, for example registration of a (relevant to technological products and procedures), a sample (relevant to products designs), copyrights (relevant to written materials), trademarks (relevant to names) etc. Examine the chances of registration in light of the criteria applicable to each registration type, such as innovation in the context of patents, and how the registration will assist you in the protection you need. To be efficient, attempt to focus your registration efforts on the heart of your business.
Additional consideration in registration – intellectual property registration procedures may aid not only in protection, but also to be sued as a marketing tool, for example, the mere filing of a patent application may single potential investors of your belief in the venture and its innovation, the registration procedure being complex and expensive. On the other hand, note that filing intellectual property may require, at a certain stage, the exposure of information to the public, which may be detrimental to you. Of course, you should explore the complexity, length and costs of the registration procedure.
Confidentiality – Be careful in the exposure of information related to the idea and technology on which your venture is based. Make sure each employee and consultant signs an adequate confidentiality, intellectual property assignment and non-compete undertaking. Have each other person or body you in contact with you on a proper confidentiality agreement. Adopt as soon as you can a confidentiality policy and apply it in the company. Clarify to anyone you or the company are in contact with how important confidentiality is to you. Note the time schedules for registration procedures, for example at certain stages the disclosure of information may impair the probably to register a patent.
Suppliers – as part of he company’s activity, you may decide to use intellectual property components of others, such as software suppliers. Ensure you have clear agreements regarding the acquisition or licensing of such intellectual property that contain indemnity in your favor in case such intellectual property infringes third party rights; attempt to get such indemnity without a cap of suppler liability thereto. If you use open source software, note the disadvantages, such as the affect such software may have on your entire product.
Clients – if the company engages with licensing of its intellectual property, you should make sure you have clear agreements detailing the permitted use and the restriction thereon.
Hebrew version published with Mondaq – http://www.mondaq.com/x/770392/Trademark/Setting+Up+A+StartUp+What+Is+Important+To+Know+About+Intellectual+Property