05.05.2021 News Doerner

How to Best Protect Important Small Business Assets

In honor of National Small Business Week, Doerner is pleased to show our support by sharing a series of insightful business tips for entrepreneurs and small businesses to help improve their business strategies.  This article is written by Attorney Ward Hobson and it is the first of several articles in this series. 

Running a small business can be hard, especially in today’s competitive business climate.   

Understandably, it can be easy for small business owners and entrepreneurs to overlook the importance of protecting their company’s valuable small business assets.  Don’t make this mistake.  You should consider identifying and legally protecting intellectual property rights, such as company names, brand names for goods and services, inventions (like devices, specialized methods and systems), proprietary and confidential information and trade secrets.   

Intellectual property assets can add real value to your company – value that can be lost if not properly identified and legally protected.  Intellectual property assets, such as patents, trademarks and copyrights, can be bought, sold, licensed, and leveraged similar to real estate, equipment, inventory and various other company assets.  It’s important to protect your business from competitors, which can also provide a variety of significant and real-world advantages for small business owners.  However, a failure to identify, secure and protect these intellectual property assets early and often could result in abandonment of your rights and loss of value.  You could unintentionally expose your company to costly litigation, where your company could be required to pay damages, rebrand and/or make other costly operating changes to avoid or pay for infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others, including your competitors.   

The good news is that there is no better time than now to take steps to identify and protect your valuable small business intellectual property assets.  Here are a few tips to help you throughout the process: 

  • First, work with your trusted legal advisor (for example, a licensed patent attorney) to conduct an internal audit to determine what intellectual property rights your company may have (often a company may not even be aware of what intellectual property rights or assets they have and how best to legally protect those rights). 
  • Next, evaluate whether these intellectual property assets are adequately protected, registered and/or enforceable, so you can make an informed decision as to whether it make economic sense for your business to protect these assets by means of patents, trademarks, copyrights and/or various written agreements. 
  • Third, develop a strategy, including an internal process for identifying intellectual property assets.  Decide which assets to protect and take the steps to enforce your rights. 

If you would like more information about how to protect your business assets and intellectual property, our law firm can assist you. Contact Ward Hobson at 405-319-3504 or to schedule a consultation.