Frequently Asked Questions about IP
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Frequently Asked Questions about IP
A big corporation wants to use my technology. What do I ask for to protect me from being screwed?
What do I do to own the website someone made for me?
This is a very important topic for early-stage companies. The “website” may be comprised of copyrightable artwork, music, video and computer code. In addition, it may also rely on trade secrets in the form of customer data. Further, it may display your brand. Finally, if it is a “software as a service” platform, there may be patentable subject matter. As a result, it is essential to have in place the appropriate agreements with the people developing the website in order that your company own it or own the components that were created for it. Besides ownership, you have to maintain control of the passwords on any code repository like Github. Check out our video on <“Sabety IP Toolkit for Startups”> for a quick lecture on this topic.
How do I let people use my technology or website and avoid lawsuits?
It is crucial to have proper user agreements associated with any permission to visit or use a website—especially one that collects customer information. First, you have to make sure your agreement will disclaim any warranty of suitability for any purpose and non-infringement and establish limitations on liability. Second, you have to be sure your site complies with applicable data protection law. Third, your agreement has to limit the rights to use the website with appropriate covenants that forbid things like reverse engineering or pirating of content or code. Check out our video on <“Sabety IP Toolkit for Startups”> for a quick lecture on this topic. Sabety +associates, PLLC has drafted software, website and SAAS agreements for over 20 years.
I have been served with a summons from a Court that says “infringement.” What do I do now?
You need to call a lawyer right away. In U.S. Federal Court, you have 21 days to answer the summons or you may be subject to a default judgment. There is no upside to ignoring the document. Sabety +associates, PLLC has advised companies on these kinds of threats for over 20 years.
How do I protect my new technology from being copied?
There are a variety of ways this can be done. First is to maintain its status as a trade secret if possible. This starts with maintaining a proper process of non-disclosure and assignment agreements with employees and contractors. Second, discuss with IP counsel whether the technology might qualify for a patent. Third, if it is code, consider filing a copyright registration. Check out our video on <“Sabety IP Toolkit for Startups”> for a quick lecture on this topic.
How do I protect my brand from being knocked off?
First, you have to establish that your brand isn’t stepping on any toes before you invest in it. We call that a “clearance.” After your brand is cleared, it is highly recommended to file an application for federal trademark registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Check out our video on <“Sabety IP Toolkit for Startups”> for a quick lecture on this topic.
How do I protect my website, photographs, music or artwork from being copied without permission?
It is crucial to have proper user agreements associated with any permission to visit a website that may have your creative material on it. In addition, filing an application for registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is a prerequisite to enforcing your copyrights. But most importantly, it is essential that you establish your ownership over these works if in fact, someone else created the content for you. Check out our video on <“Sabety IP Toolkit for Startups”> for a quick lecture on this topic.
Someone is using my photographs or artwork without my permission. What can I do?
First, you need to register the photographs, artwork, or music with the U.S. Copyright Office before you can seek remedy in court. Second, in parallel, you need counsel to contact the infringer. However, given the international aspect of this problem, you need your case evaluated to see what is the most cost-effective solution. In other words, the “infringer” may be more than the website that pirated the material but may include its facilitators. But these may be shielded by law. Sabety +associates, PLLC can review your specific case and advise you on the best way forward.
I want to invest in a business. How do I know they own any IP and what it worth?
It is recommended as part of due diligence to have IP counsel check what IP registrations the company has, the chain of title from the creators or inventors that establishes that the company owns it and further what exactly these IP registrations cover and their relevance to the business case. Sabety +associates, PLLC has conducted IP due diligence and negotiated the IP aspects of M&A deals and financings for over 20 years.