Rocky Mt. Tech Seminar helps innovators protect their assets

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A great idea is only as good as the protection it receives. That was the message that attorneys from Patton Boggs LLP stressed in a Tuesday seminar at the Rocky Mountain Technology Expo 21.

“It’s an asset. It’s something you put into … and get a return on,” said attorney Halina Dziewit, adding that innovators need to “think on a global basis.”

Intellectual property can be an idea, concept, prototypes, software package, hardware product, client list, marketing strategy, and research material — among others. Whether tangible or not, these pieces of “property” can easily be stolen, copied or transferred with the original designer left in the lurch while the possessor reaps the financial benefits.

“If you don’t know what you have,” said fellow attorney Carl Forest “you can’t protect it.”

That is why Dziewit, Forest and co-speaker Jim Graziano strongly recommended that all documents be stamped “confidential” before being seen or released.

Many companies also have a policy — and a contract — stating that employees cannot take information of any kind to another company when they leave that employer. Called a non-compete clause, it is used to protect the former company as well as the employee. This would not give the competitor an unfair advantage.

Forms of intellectual property protection include identifying the items or items and protecting and developing the property. Property can be protected through a trademark, patent or copyright. Trademarks include memorable names, images or color combinations such as the McDonald’s arches. Patents tend to cover a broad concept while a copyright usually refers to arts and publications.

Other forms of intellectual property protection includes franchising, licensing, Internet domain, mergers and acquisitions, security agreements, domain names, corporate names, export licensing, antitrust cases, contract negotiations and interpretation.