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Episode Date: November 6, 2014
In this "Startup Basics," Jason sits down with special guests, WSGR attorneys Rachel Proffitt and Todd Carpenter, who give us in-depth advice on the legal aspects of getting your startup off the ground. In this episode Todd and Rachel explain THE essential issue in protecting your ideas: Intellectual Property. What is IP, what is its purpose, and how do you safeguard your startup's secrets? Tune in to find out!
- There are a few baseline steps you should take to protect your IP and company, like IP assignment agreements.
- If there's any overlap between what you want to work on and where you're currently working, it's a better idea to leave before you start working on your idea.
- A usual condition for closing a round of financing is that everyone involved must sign an IP assignment agreement (including retroactive agreements).
Intellectual property is not a perfect science. You have to just do the best you can. - Jason
- The purpose of IP is the protection of ideas.
- IPs you can register with the USPTO (registerable IPs):
- IPs you can't register with USPTO (non-registerable IPs protected through confidentiality agreements):
- All founders, employees, consultants, and advisors should sign an IP assignment agreement to ensure the company owns all the IP developed.
- If someone doesn't want to sign it, you should think long and hard about why that is. Do they want more money or equity? Are they planning to go on and start their own company? Regardless, especially if they are critical, you should not allow them to keep developing your product if they can walk right out the door with it.
- There are separate agreements for each type of team member.
- It's much more expensive to deal with IP-related issues in the future, so you need to make sure that everyone (even if they're your best friends) signs an IP assignment agreement.