Often, California business owners do not appreciate the value of the intellectual property they invest considerable time and effort creating. Alternatively, you may not realize what constitutes intellectual property, so you may not take the necessary steps to ensure protection of your valuable interests.
Generally, any item that you develop, create, innovate, generate, or otherwise produce could constitute intellectual property if it delivers economic benefit and separates you from your competitors. Therefore, it is critical to do all you can to protect these assets, and an intellectual property lawyer can help. Please call 916-492-6033 to reach the Law Office of Kristina M. Reed in Sacramento, CA. Some important legal information may also be useful.Contractual Protection for Valuable Intellectual Property Assets
One option to safeguard your intellectual property is to execute written agreements that identify these assets and describe permissible and prohibited uses. The challenge is drafting contracts that offer sufficient protection while still being enforceable under California’s laws on restraints of trade. Contractual protection often arises in the context of employment agreements or the sale of a business, in which the parties may negotiate:
- Confidentiality Agreements: As the name suggests, the parties agree that certain designated information will be considered confidential for the purposes and on the terms stated in the agreement.
- Non-Compete Clauses: This type of contract protects the owner of the intellectual property from competition, which could be an issue for a former employer when an exiting employee takes value assets and trade secrets along to a new position; or a new business owner who does not to suffer when the seller has an unfair advantage in competing within the same space.
In both cases, a non-compete agreement would require the former employee and business seller to avoid engaging in competition. These contracts must be reasonably and narrowly tailored to achieve designated objectives, however. Enforceability of a non-compete clause is based upon three factors:
- Length of time;
- Geographical area; and,
- Scope of activities.
Attorney Kristina Reed is experienced in negotiating and drafting the essential documents, regardless of whether you are an employer or party to a business sale and purchase. The key is finding the right balance to protect your interests, while making sure that the contract is enforceable should a dispute arise. Plus, if you are an employee presented with a confidentiality or non-compete agreement, you do have rights. Attorney Reed can review the documentation to assess whether the terms are fair and reasonable.Legal Protection for Business Intellectual Property
Besides protecting your intellectual property through contracts, you can also gain legal protection according to state and federal laws. With assistance from an intellectual property attorney, you can file the necessary documents and obtain rights granted by:
- The US Patent and Trademark Office;
- The US Copyright Office; and,
- Relevant laws of the State of California.
For more information on how intellectual property laws work and how you can safeguard your investment, please contact the Law Office of Kristina M. Reed in Sacramento, CA. You can set up a consultation to discuss your circumstances by calling 916-492-6033.