What distinguishes your start-up company from its competitors? It is likely an idea, logo, code, customer list or other similar intangible asset. So, it is important to take measures to protect the unique aspects that set your entity apart from the others. Failure to do so can mean significant legal struggles for you in the future.
When do you start this process? As soon as possible! Below are a few options to consider:
- Intellectual property. There are different types of intellectual property that must be protected by patents, trademarks and copyrights. If you have a new invention, you may need to obtain a patent. A trademark can be used to protect the source of goods and services. If your entity has creative works, such as writings and works of art, you should consider copyrights.
- Confidentiality. Anyone who comes into contact with your private or non-public information should be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This type of contract sets forth when and how your company’s data is shared. It also provides your company with legal remedies if the agreement is breached.
- Non-Solicitation agreement. All of your key employees should sign a contract that prohibits them from soliciting your company’s clients for a set period of time after they part ways with you. You should also include a provision establishing that the company is the rightful owner of any intellectual property or inventions developed while the individual is employed by you.
- Digital data. All company computers should be password protected, with the passwords being changed routinely. Additionally, the company’s digital data should be regularly backed-up. Access to the company’s most proprietary information should be to only those employees who must have it.
If you are interested in learning more about how to protect your start-up company’s intangible assets, contact us for help.