What to Ask: Intellectual Property | Carlos Perez-Toro, Esq.
Starting a new business? UpCounsel attorney Carlos Perez-Toro explains what every startup should be asking their legal team about Intellectual Property2 min read
What should we patent?
A patent may be the only thing preventing competitors from entering your market, particularly in businesses with low barriers to entry. If you are doing something unique, you must obtain strategic patents that (1) prevent others from copying your core business features, and (2) covers simple "design-arounds."
What is the best way a small business owner can protect personal wealth and assets from business risks?
Investing in good legal advice upfront is one of the best ways to protect a business from risks that may only materialize years down the road.
What specifically are small business owners most confused about when you first meet with them?
Small business owners are often confused about what a good patent should be, and the purpose of provisional patent applications.
How can quality legal services help a small business grow?
Quality attorneys are highly specialized in their practice areas and are aware of many risks and pitfalls that businesses may encounter in the future.
How can quality legal services help small businesses save money?
Fixing errors can be orders of magnitude costlier than preventing them. A quality attorney is versed in the most common issues businesses face that can end in costly litigation and how to prevent them.
How can small businesses maximize the value of their legal team’s services?
UpCounsel is full of incredibly qualified attorneys at truly bargain prices for the quality of work they do. Small businesses should hire experts in the particular legal areas they need, which is something that UpCounsel allows them to do.
Should business partners have the same amount of equity in a company? Why or why not?
Business partners should have equity in proportion to their value and contribution to the business, taking into account their experience, expertise, and risk-taking. Disproportional equity can lead to problems in securing further investments down the road.
What are the top three things a small business owner should be aware of when purchasing an existing business?
Due diligence reviewing customer lists, sale records, advertising materials, and employee contracts. Find out if there are any patents, copyrights, or trademarks associated with the business. Determine why the business is for sale.
Do you have any other essential legal guidance for startups that you haven't already included in this survey?
Startups should pay close attention to their patent portfolio. File many inexpensive provisional applications, and review the portfolio periodically to ensure it is up-to-date to the business and product trajectories.