The ideas and products you create are essential to your business. Our goal at Napolitano Law Office is to safeguard those assets. We work with our clients to protect their intellectual property and trademarks. Our team is caring, knowledgeable, and committed to the big picture. We build close relationships with our clients and make legal tools accessible to businesses so they can operate with confidence.
When the cronut—the combination of a croissant and a doughnut—was introduced in 2013, it was an instant hit. Within a few days, people were lining up for blocks to purchase this delightful treat. Realizing this success, the owner, Chef Dominique Ansel, trademarked the cronut name within nine days in New York City. But then, Chef Alina Eisenhauer of Sweet Kitchen & Bar in Worcester, Massachusetts, claimed that she was the first to fry croissant dough and has been serving her “dosants” since 2008. Baker Roy Auddino then said he has been making “doughssants” since 1991. Unfortunately, neither Chef Alina nor Baker Roy thought of registering their product as a trademark.
Business owners create things. Whether you created a new invention to sell, an artistic work to publish, or a brand for your company, creations of the mind are highly important to business owners. Under the law, such creations of the mind are referred to as “intellectual property,” or “ IP.” Trademark, patent, and copyright laws also provide people with certain protections for their intellectual property, which can keep others from stealing or wrongly benefitting from their ideas.
If you own a business, you should consider obtaining a trademark, copyright, or patent for your brand, products, and / or ideas. Each different type of IP protection has its own procedures for acquiring the protection, as well as its own costs and benefits. While you are allowed to apply for IP protection on your own, it is always helpful to have an experienced IP and business attorney guiding you through the process, so you do not risk making a mistake and having your application denied.
Before even seeing a business lawyer, many business start-ups in their early stages employ multiple people to work on ventures in which they develop proprietary forms of intellectual property. This may take the form of software or hardware design work or proprietary methods of exploiting Internet technology or other protectable intellectual property. In such cases, unless proper agreements are in place, the various contributors to the development effort may each personally own some part of the intellectual property rights that properly belong to the company.
There are many additional IP issues and questions that you may face when starting or running your small business. It is crucial to consult with a small business attorney who is familiar with the IP issues involved in a startup in order to secure and protect your brand and product.
It is also important to business startups to avoid due diligence problems when the time comes for the closing of your funding rounds or for the closing of your company’s acquisition. Nothing is worse than discovering claims against a startup’s intellectual property rights at such critical moments. General guidelines will help you spot problem areas but you will need a good Santa Clara business law attorney to help you evaluate them. Gray areas and exceptions to the rules abound.
When it comes to your IP, work with a good lawyer to do things right. Our team at Napolitano Law Office provides business owners with trustworthy counsel and “big picture” planning, including contracts, business formation, and consulting. We emphasize relationships of mutual respect that allow you to build your business with confidence.
For a free overview consultation, call us today at (650) 399-9545 to make a phone appointment with our trusted business lawyer in Santa Clara County.