The Corporate Law Group

Creating an IP Portfolio

The Buzz’s father once had an idea he wanted to patent: Little cups on airplane wheels that would start the wheels spinning before landing so that the tires wouldn’t squeal when they hit the pavement. When he looked into it, there were already a dozen variations of his idea patented. That ended his inventing career. Our state and federal intellectual property laws, including patents, trademarks, mask works, trade secrets, copyrights, and the like, give you a monopoly of one sort or another. That’s pretty cool. You get to charge monopoly profits from anyone who wants it. Famous author? Try charging $300 for your next book. [Well maybe there are some market forces at work in limiting your profits, like competition from other books.] But still you should pursue a portfolio of protection for the intellectual property that defines your business. Even if you will never start exacting huge patent infringement settlements from the Fortune 500, or shut down potential competitors in their infancy, a portfolio is useful for cross licensing when disputes do arise and to make a buyer feel good about acquiring you. And some, like trademarks and copyrights, are relatively cheap, although there are a few landmines for the DIY IP protector.
Paul Marotta

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