Articles Posted in Intellectual Property

AdobeStock_314925095-300x200For businesses in financial distress, the right path forward may mean choosing between a reorganization or a liquidation.  Businesses have a number of options available to them, each of which include their own benefits and drawbacks.  You should speak with a bankruptcy attorney before deciding which approach makes the most sense for your business.

If a reorganization is not feasible, one of the available options is an Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors — commonly referred to as an “ABC.”

In an ABC, the business assigns all of its assets and debts to an assignee.  The assignee — which is generally a company that specializes in such transactions — then liquidates the assets and distributes the proceeds to the business’s creditors.  The assignee has a fiduciary duty to the creditors to maximize the value of the business’s assets, and often may seek to sell the entire business as a going concern, or even continue to operate the business after the ABC has commenced.

AdobeStock_274449599-300x199Launching a startup is an exciting time for entrepreneurs. There are many people involved in many processes that could make or break your business. During this time, your intellectual property (IP) can be exposed to many different people and businesses. It is important to protect it from theft and unlicensed usage. At Structure Law Group, our experienced Silicon Valley startup attorneys know how to protect your legal interests in IP at all stages of business formation. Call 408-441-7500 to schedule your consultation with a lawyer.

The Reasons Entrepreneurs Don’t Protect Their Intellectual Property

Forbes recently reported on some of the most common reasons entrepreneurs fail to protect their property:

AdobeStock_121073632-300x200Intellectual property, defined as “any product of the human intellect that the law protects from unauthorized use by others,” isn’t a modern concept. In fact, the United States Constitution, through the “Intellectual Property Clause,” protects the intellectual property rights of authors and inventors in the arts and sciences. It is from this clause that federal intellectual property law, including trademark, copyright, and patent protections, are derived.  A unique product of human intellect can be the basis of a copyright, trademark, or patent.

Categories of Intellectual Property

As is clear from the definition of intellectual property (“IP”), the law doesn’t protect all products of human intellect. Instead, federal and/or state laws protect the following types of intellectual property:

AdobeStock_279078466-300x188You’ve probably heard your grandfather complain that he did not patent the “mobile phone” he invented in 1942. If he had, he’d be a billionaire! Ideas come and go, but those who take the leap and protect those ideas often reap the benefits.

Intellectual property” (“IP”) is defined as a unique “product of human intellect” protected by law. Intellectual property can be both in physical form, an idea, or even a design. Algorithms, programming techniques, song lyrics, and books are all forms of intellectual property. Federal law protects intellectual property from being used by unauthorized parties. Protecting business’s intellectual property will help the business maintain the value and benefit from their intellectual property. IP law is complex, and you’ll need the assistance of a Mountain View IP attorney from Structure Law Group to protect your rights under federal intellectual property law.

Types of Intellectual Property

In the Silicon Valley technology sector, intellectual property is more than just a buzzword. It is an asset with the potential to generate significant income for years to come. Intellectual property includes patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Many employers protect their intellectual property with invention assignment agreements and confidentiality agreements.

Fotolia_137908096_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x200
What types of Agreement can be used to protect my company’s intellectual property?

There are many different types of agreements that employers can use to protect their intellectual property. The appropriate one for your business depends on what specific protections your business wishes to enact. An invention assignment agreement is a contract that establishes the employer’s ownership over all creations (including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and other inventions) that are created at the employer’s expense on company time.

Fotolia_106115248_Subscription_Monthly_M-2-300x237Intellectual property is a valuable asset for a business. When a company licenses its IP out to other businesses, it can gain a competitive advantage and also reap the benefits of a lucrative, passive revenue stream.

When dealing with IP, most business owners immediately think of patents.  Patents cover inventions including processes, machines, compositions of matter, designs, and plants.  However, patents are only one type of valuable IP.  There are other types of intellectual property that can be licensed out to increase your business’s revenue.  These include:

  • Trademarks, which protect company or product names, as well as corporate logos, slogans, and other promotional materials; and

Fotolia_174937057_Subscription_Monthly_M-1-300x200
Despite the fact that everyone is entitled to their day in the court, the reality is that most cases are resolved out of court.  Many clients will approach their lawyers with the hope that they will be able to quickly get in front of a judge and explain their story—a vision of American justice that is reinforced in popular media and Court TV.  However, getting to trial is a long process and most cases never make it to trial.  In most situations, the cases take earlier exit ramps, such as informal out-of-court settlement, mediation, arbitration, or is resolved by a ruling before trial.  Even if a case is set for trial, it is very common for the parties to settle on the eve of trial.

Often, the cheapest and most efficient way for a dispute to get resolved is for the attorneys to work on an out-of-court settlement.  This can occur at any point either before or after a lawsuit has been filed.  Under this track, attorneys informally negotiate a resolution.  If the parties agree to it, the attorneys will memorialize the resolution in a settlement agreement.  This is often the quickest way to resolve a case, as it does not require any third-party intervention—it only requires the parties to work together to settle their differences and capable counsel to guide the parties through the process.

In addition to out-of-court settlements, cases often get resolved with the help of a neutral third-party.  For instance, cases often go to non-binding mediation before they move on to trial.  Indeed, more and more courts are making mediation a mandatory step before allowing the case to move to trial.  During mediation, the parties present their case to a neutral third party whose job is to facilitate a settlement agreement by working with the parties and their attorneys as a go-between. Sometimes, cases may end up in front of a neutral third-party who has the authority to make a binding decision.  For instance, if the parties signed an agreement for binding arbitration, a private judge will make the final decision and the parties must live with the decision whether or not they are happy with it.  Arbitration is usually less costly and more efficient than going to trial.

Fotolia_137908096_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x200
It seems almost once a week there is data breach in the news-Facebook, Experian, Target, Delta Airlines. The list goes on and on. San Jose business owners have a legal obligation to protect their customers’ personal information (also called Personally Identifiable Information or PII). Every business, regardless of the size, should have a privacy policy and measures to safeguard PII. This is especially true if your business collects user information online or stores sensitive employee information.

What is Personally Identifiable Information (PII)?

PII is any information that can be used to identify an individual’s personal identity. There are many definitions, but most often the following list is considered PII:

FotoliaComp_107752921_KgnXmQbbKtYLjGKUpRwI8QKtVt6DEe1O_NW40-300x200
Securities law is something you might hear in the news because of some violation or in relation to white-collar crime. With the wild ride that the stock market, including the gradual introduction of permissible, legal trading of cryptocurrencies (like bitcoin) and tokens from initial coin offerings (“ICO’s”), has securities laws a popular, researched and well-debated topic among entrepreneurs, businesses, investors, lawyers, and regulators. But, what are these laws? Securities laws are detailed and complex laws that govern securities. Below, we discuss some of the basic concepts of securities laws. For more information, contact a Mountain View transctional attorney today.

Understanding Securities

A security is a common word used in investment circles. It is a broad term that refers to the instrument used in certain transactions, financing or investments that are sold in various financial markets. The Supreme Court uses the Howey Test to determine whether a transaction represents and investment contract (and thus a security) by using the following definition of when an investment contract is a security: “a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits solely from the efforts of the promoter or a third party.” Examples of securities include:

Fotolia_208279740_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x200
Palo Alto business owners are faced with heavy competition in the Silicon Valley, all of which are looking for the best practices, methods, and trade secrets. Some of a company’s most valuable assets can be found in your intellectual property. Each year intellectual property theft costs businesses billions of dollars. If you think your intellectual property might be at risk of being stolen or you can confirm it has been stolen, you need to act fast.

Different Types of Intellectual Property

In order to protect yourself from Intellectual Property theft, a business owner must first define what they need to protect. For example, if the business owners want to secure a method of a certain process, a formula specific to their company, or even lock down a logo and name to fight off competition, there will be different applicable forms of legal protection to consider and utilize. There are several forms of protection, some of them being:

Contact Information