• October 2018
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Can I protect my startup with patents or other legal means?

Yes, you can protect your startup and its intellectual property with patents and other legal means including trademarks and trade secrets. Each category has its own specific purpose, protections, and requirements but a patent will probably be most helpful to you.

Patents — A patent will protect your “invention” from infringement by competitors. An “invention” can be a new product, an improvement on an existing product, or even a process; but, a patent will only be granted if the claimed invention is new and useful, determined by the US patent office. It is pretty difficult to get a patent because once you do get one they are very powerful. A patent is basically a legal monopoly and will allow the holder to exclude any competitor from using the patented invention. The power to exclude gives the patent holder leverage to negotiate a licensing deal or a sale of the patent. If you can get a patent, you should do so.

Trademarks — A trademark will protect any mark or symbol that represents your company, for example your name or logo. Such marks generally provide value to the company by allowing consumers and customers to easily differentiate the company’s product from a competing product. Trademarks are sometimes limited by regions or industries but could be helpful for building your brand.

Trade Secrets — A trade secret is like a secret recipe. It is also the most formal of the intellectual property protections and doesn’t require filing. As long as you maintain reasonable efforts to protect your secret, anyone who unlawfully uses it will have to pay you for such use.

Intellectual property rights can provide value to your startup and it is definitely worth having that protection if you qualify. If you still have questions and want to learn more about how to apply for and obtain intellectual property rights, you should visit LawTrades. Our legal platform offers no obligation price quotes and free consultations. Good luck with your startup!

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