At PLF, we recognize that entrepreneurs and startups have unique requirements for intellectual property legal representation. Below are examples of how we can tailor our IP services to address these requirements.
Typically, the first intellectual property that most startups encounter is trade secrets. We help clients identify information that is trade secret and develop the best strategy for protecting these valuable assets. PLF guides the entrepreneur through the often difficult decisions of how much and when to disclose information to potential investors (including venture capitalists), service providers (such as manufacturers), and independent contractors.
For an entrepreneur, an important early IP decision is determining the enterprise name and branding strategy. PLF encourages entrepreneurs to frame this decision with a view toward creating strong trademarks that can be used to expand into the international market. By teaming with PLF on a long-term strategy for identifying, protecting, and maintaining trademarks, entrepreneurs can more effectively budget and market their company’s value proposition, while creating valuable assets.
Copyrights can exist once a work is created, so we encourage entrepreneurs to think proactively about creating, identifying, and protecting these IP assets. Registration is not expensive and while registering key elements of a startup’s copyrightable work can create great value, unnecessary registration can drain scarce resources. PLF works closely with our entrepreneur clients to copyright strategically to optimize the return on investment in its copyright assets.
Because the U.S. patent law recently changed to a system that grants patents to the first-to-file, entrepreneurs have never felt more pressure to file patent applications early and often. However, it remains important to carefully evaluate what to patent, obtain the most valuable patents, and decide whether patenting is the best option for the business. Using our expertise in international law and business, PLF guides its entrepreneur clients through this process with the goal of developing international patent strategies and creating value by filing patents which support creating barriers to entry.
One mechanism for protecting and monetizing IP assets is through licensing and related contracts. Even contracts that are considered to be routine by the entrepreneur may have an important impact on a startup. PLF works with its clients to ensure that any agreement potentially touching on IP rights (e.g., non-disclosure, shareholder, independent contractor, manufacturing/vendor agreements) protects the client’s IP rights. We want to ensure that no IP rights are inadvertently lost or devalued through any contract. Too many startups lose critical IP rights due to poorly drafted agreements or agreements that were not reviewed by counsel.