Protecting small businesses is to secure one of the most important elements in the state economy, as they are responsible for employing almost half of all private-sector employees and creating three-quarters of all new jobs.
In this article, you will discover feasible intellectual property protection strategies for small businesses in Florida.
Intellectual Property Protection – Solid Ideas for Florida Small Businesses
Identifying and Classifying Intangible Assets
Most Florida small businesses own intellectual property. However, many business owners and managers do not take the necessary steps to protect themselves. In some cases, some companies even do not realize the existence of certain intellectual property.
The term “intangible property” encompasses several other intangible assets that are not physical. It is not unusual to find businesses that do not treat business plans, ideas for new products or services, and other similar concepts as intellectual property.
The first step is identifying the existence of intangible property and classifying each asset according to its nature. For example, while a certain idea may classify as a trademark, other non-physical assets may classify as a patent.
An expert intellectual property attorney can help companies to handle the process adequately.
Protecting the Confidentiality of Business Information
Smart business owners know that if a piece of information is valuable for a company, the best approach is to keep it confidential. In Florida, there are two solutions easily accessible by small businesses – non-disclosure agreements and trade secrets law.
A non-disclosure agreement is a contract signed by an employee in which he or she agrees with the employer not to disclose or use private specific information within the contract’s legal scope for a specific amount of time.
In most cases, this type of contract is used to prevent employees from using knowledge acquired at the employer’s expense to benefit themselves or competitors.
Florida law defines trade secrets as “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that:
- Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and
- Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy”
If a piece of business information is considered a trade secret in Florida, any attempt of unauthorized third parties to misappropriate it results in severe legal consequences.
Business Unique Branding Strategies
The brand of a business represents its public face. An adequate business branding strategy involves different concepts, such as logos, designs, patterns, website domain names, and social media.
The best approach is to consult with an expert intellectual property attorney to identify which branding items fall under legal the protection of federal and state trademark laws.
While trademark rights derive from its usage in business, these so-called common law trademarks do not have the same level of legal protection as trademarks registered with the appropriate state or federal agencies.