HBO’s hit show “Silicon Valley” follows the trials and tribulations of a fictional startup company, Pied Piper. But what lessons can a real startup learn about protecting its intellectual property?
“Startups work in an exciting landscape, but an extremely competitive one,” said Ryan Koppelman, partner in Alston & Bird’s Intellectual Property Litigation Group. “They face so many business challenges that they are often unaware of the necessary legal measures they must take. Understanding your intellectual property’s value and learning how to protect your assets remains paramount and vital to a company’s success.”
Protecting your company’s IP begins by identifying valuable IP and writing company policies and procedures requiring employees to disclose any new inventions to managers or a committee tasked with protecting IP, said Koppelman.
There are many different best practices to follow, continued Koppelman, including limiting access to trade secrets, establishing written policies, requiring confidentiality agreements and mandating the return of company assets when an employee leaves.
“Startups and emerging companies are particularly vulnerable to claims of IP violations because defending against such claims is expensive [and] these companies are usually operating on limited resources,” Koppelman explained.