January 2, 2019

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Intellectual Property

By Bryan K. Wheelock, Principal

Its the start of a new year, and here are ten things that you should consider doing to enhance your intellectual property in 2019:

  1. Revisit your employee agreement to ensure that the Company’s IP is adequately protected.
  2. Update your invention disclosure form. Even though we are operating in a first to file system, record keeping is still important to be able to prove/disprove derivation. Make sure that your forms are up to date.
  3. Take secrecy serious. Trade secret protection depends upon whether steps, reasonable under the circumstances, have been taken to protect the secrecy of the subject matter.
  4. Track agreements more closely. Do you know when the confidentiality and licensing agreements you have entered into expire? Do you have a process to ensure performance of these agreements?
  5. Evaluate inventions disclosures more critically. Not all inventions need protection. Inventions that solve problems unique to your product, for example, are unlikely to be infringed by third parties.
  6. Take copyright seriously. Copyright provides wide ranging protection for advertising, packaging, websites, and other works of authorship. These rights are enhanced by the application of proper copyright notice and prompt registration of the works.
  7. Make employee education a priority. Your employees are critical to protecting your intellectual property, as well as avoiding the intellectual property of others.
  8. Create a brand guide. Establish clear rules for the proper presentation and use of your trademarks. Publish these rules so that everyone inside the company and outside the company uses your marks correctly.
  9. Create a social media policy. There are a surprising number of ways things can go wrong on social media, and some simple rules can prevent this from happening.
  10. Email better. Make sure your emails don’t put you and your activities in an unfairly light if they are viewed by outsiders.