Monday, July 21, 2014

Top 10 Intellectual Property (IP) Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs

By popular demand, we are posting a “Top 10” list of IP related mistakes made by entrepreneur/inventors.  Without further adieu, here it is:

10. Under appreciating the potential patentability of their idea(s) particularly in the e-commerce fields.
9. Using open source software in their (otherwise proprietary) software thereby potentially exposing that software to free use under the open source “copyleft” agreement.
8. Performing alpha and/or beta tests without using an NDA (non disclosure agreement) with the testers thereby making a public disclosure of the tested software.  Such public disclosures can trigger a 1-year grace period for the filing of a patent application (in the U.S.).  In many other countries, the disclosed idea immediately enters the public domain.
7. Naming people who work for other companies as inventors (when they are not) thereby allowing those companies potential access to the underlying IP.
6. Naming a person as an inventor who only helped implement an idea without contributing to its conception (the hallmark of inventorship).
5. Failing to have proper IP clauses in their third-party contracts thereby creating an opening for these parties to use the IP.
4. Launching a product/service without performing a trademark search first thereby risking trademark infringement and/or risking an expensive re-branding of the launched product.
3. Failing to have a well-written NDA in place before publically disclosing a potentially patentable idea.
2. Writing their own patent applications thereby (almost always) introducing numerous fatal flaws into these “pro se” patent applications.
1. Making an offer for sale of a product/service incorporating a potentially patentable idea without first filing a patent application.  This action can place that idea in the public domain in the U.S. immediately.

Of course, reasonable minds can differ as to the ordering of this list.  And, indeed, there are likely some mistakes not listed here. 

But, we at the Villhard Patent Group would welcome a discussion of these issues and how they might apply to your situation.  For more information about us, see www.villhardpatents or call us at 512-897-0399.  We look forward to speaking with you.

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