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Third Edition

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Phone: (801) 537-1700
Fax: (801) 537-1799


This handbook is intended as a guide for decision-makers in any innovative company. Identifying and protecting innovations can mean the difference between success and failure for many companies. Innovation frequently defines a company’s competitive edge. To stay competitive, decision-makers must keep current and understand the basics of protecting innovation under current intellectual property law. This handbook outlines the basics of intellectual property and explains strategies for protecting a company’s innovation.

As intellectual property attorneys, we have noticed that many start-up companies are so focused on development, that they unintentionally short-change protecting their innovative assets. Frequently, start-up companies are misinformed about what can or should be protected, and such companies spend their protection dollars in areas that do not offer the most strategic and cost-effective protection. There are precautions that can be adopted for little or no cost that can set the stage for effective protection when a company has matured suffciently that it chooses to embark on a formal intellectual property protection program.

The overview presented in this handbook is not intended to be a comprehensive treatment of intellectual property. Rather, it merely provides a framework around which a company can evaluate its creativity. Because intellectual property law is dynamic, changing almost as quickly as the creative fields it protects, changes in the law may occur between this printing and the time you are examining this handbook. It would be advisable to double check with an intellectual property specialist before relying on any particular strategy for protecting your innovation.

This handbook addresses fundamental intellectual property protection issues in a format that explains the basics for each specific type of protection available and then suggests three approaches (minimal, modest, and aggressive). Each approach represents a level of financial and business commitment to that protection. The minimal approach describes conduct essential to protecting your intellectual property that may be performed at little or no cost. The modest approach describes precautions that can be taken at modest cost that may enhance the effectiveness of your protection efforts. Finally, the aggressive approach describes conduct that is often optional, but may be significant in fully protecting your intellectual property. Some of the suggestions in the aggressive approach may carry a sizable price tag.

The appropriate type of intellectual property protection for your creative work product may be a part of one approach or a combination of each. The proper approach should be considered carefully and tailored to your specific needs. Austin Rapp & Hardman would be happy to assist you in identifying and considering your needs.

To encourage innovation-developing companies to focus on protecting their technology, the authors of this handbook are offering initial intellectual property audits (see pages 3-6). We have included in this handbook an Intellectual Property Prospector’s Kit to help you prepare for an intellectual property audit. If you would like the authors to conduct such an audit, please contact Austin Rapp & Hardman by telephone at (801) 537-1700, by fax at (801) 537-1799, or by email to info@mmlaw.