August 1, 2016 / Published Work
If you own a business with a partner, and are working with a team of employees to develop a commercial product; how much ownership do you have over the intellectual property (IP), and how do you protect it?
Business owners have myriad IP issues to consider prior to product commercialization. Rights of partners and employees must be addressed at the time of partnership formation. Further, there must be a consideration of the type of product and the best way to protect it.
Present and future partner rights and options must be set out through guidelines to address disagreements, buy-out rights, arbitration options and business dissolution. Owners must make clear through employment agreements and contracts which individuals are employees and which are contractors, and whether employees assign rights in consideration for employment.
From patents, to trademarks, to trade secrets and copyrights, the owner has much to consider. Three practical aspects include cost, time of development and the likelihood of reverse engineering. By considering IP at the time of ownership and accounting for practical aspects, owners can put a first foot forward on the path to long term success.
Bill Storey, Ph.D.