What to Ask: Intellectual Property and Startup Tips | Zareefa Flener, Esq.
Starting a new business? UpCounsel attorney Zareefa Flener explains what every startup should be asking their legal team about intellectual property and startup tips2 min read
Do I need to consider Intellectual Property as part of my startup costs/budget/protection?
Yes, you need to determine first which protectable rights you might have i.e. patent, design, trademark, copyright, and whether it is registrable as intellectual property or whether it should be kept trade secret.
What should I consider when looking for an intellectual property attorney?
First determine what type of intellectual property you have, second depending on what it is look for an attorney you are comfortable with because the relationship will last for years. If it’s a patent or design product, the look for someone with expertise in the area of your invention, if Trademark look for someone with a strong docket and flat fee billing, and if copyright, look for someone with an understanding of whether you should file an application to begin with.
What type of budget do I need to have to go down the road of protecting my intellectual property?
It depends on the type of intellectual property you are trying to protect, but in most cases, an attorney has flexibility with regards to service billing and you should discuss your budget and come to some kind of agreement in terms of expectations.
What is the best way a small business owner can protect personal wealth and assets from business risks?
Incorporate and make sure that there is a good operating agreement, or bylaws, in place.
What specifically are small business owners most confused about when you first meet with them?
How to get intellectual property protection, and what type of protection is appropriate for their business.
How can quality legal services help a small business grow?
Intellectual property assets help increase the value of a business. Good due diligence and a good attorney can add value by strengthening the property by performing such tasks as searching before filing, and counseling on which directions to take both strategically and financially. Moreover, quality intellectual property professionals can maintain a docket so that no dates are lost and both the counsel and the client are in the loop at every step.
How can quality legal services help small businesses save money?
In the intellectual property realm, a good docketing system can provide time and structure for budgeting and preparing for upcoming fees.
How can small businesses maximize the value of their legal team’s services?
Having a good relationship with the legal team provides security, accountability, and good counseling/communication, which in turn undoubtedly leads to cost savings.
Should business partners have the same amount of equity in a company? Why or why not?
It depends on the contribution in terms of management and direction.
What are the top three things a small business owner should be aware of when purchasing an existing business?
Accurately determine the value, Find out if there are any patents, copyrights, or trademarks associated with the business, Find out if there are any human resources issues or outstanding lawsuits pending against the company.
Do you have any other essential legal guidance for startups that you haven't already included in this survey?
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