Intellectual Property Considerations and Guidance for Start-Ups: Patents
Intellectual property probably isn’t high on the to-do list for most new nonprofits and business start-ups. There’s plenty enough to do with setting up an organization, paying bills, and serving customers and clients. However, intellectual property is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. Companies and organizations that don’t protect their IP can risk losing hard-earned work and concepts. Also, companies can risk liability if they violate the IP rights of others, even unknowingly or by accident. Patents provide inventors the right to exclude others from using the technologies covered by the patent for a limited time. In exchange for exclusivity, inventors must disclose how to make and use the invention. An inventor can apply for a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), as well as other intellectual property offices around the world.