RatnerPrestia's Entrepreneurs' IP Survival Guide
Intellectual Property and Your Business Plan
Intellectual property (IP), the life blood of most technology-based businesses, includes the patents, trademarks, copyrights, designs, and trade secrets that represent the unique technology, information, and identity of your business. The prosperity of your business, if not its survival, depends on how well your IP is protected, how it is used, and how well you anticipate risks associated with the IP of others. Entrepreneurial efforts that succeed in developing a great new product with tremendous economic potential are wasted if a competitor can easily copy it with impunity, design around the IP protecting the product, or limit your freedom to market your product. A well-developed IP strategy, integrated with your business plan at an early stage, can minimize these possibilities.
Many decisions will be required as you consider the best strategy for protecting your IP. Most likely, you will need legal guidance in making these decisions. This Guide, while not a substitute for that legal guidance, will help you interact with those who provide it.
RatnerPrestia regularly updates the online version of this Guide.
For a comprehensive and comparative overview of the requirements and features of various forms of IP under U.S. law, see RP's IP Overview