During uncertain times, when businesses are temporary (or sometimes permanently) closing, it can be hard to know what to do. For some people, the forecasts of doom of gloom make them want to crawl into a whole and wait for everything to eventually pass. Even though it is important to reduced unnecessary expenditures, that should not translate into neglecting your intellectual property (“IP”) portfolio.
I have written previously about the importance of a company’s IP. Whether it be their copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, or patents, that intellectual property is often the lifeblood of the company. It is what makes the company unique and what can give it a competitive advantage in the market. During the current pandemic, it is still important to protect that information.
With employees working from home, being furloughed, or being terminated, your company should take steps to ensure that whatever intellectual property they have access to is protected and retrieved from said employees when they are let go. This is crucial in regard to trade secrets, since that protection is directly tied to the efforts of the company to keep them secret. But, it is also important with the other forms of IP. If you were working on developing a new product and an employee is terminated before you seek patent protection there is a chance that employee might go out and rush to be the “first to file.”
In addition to focusing and ensuring that you have the proper internal protections in place, some companies also have found that this could be a good time to bring lawsuits to enforce patent claims. While lawsuits are never a sure thing, and take both time and money, if a patent lawsuit is successful then it could add supplemental revenue to the company.
While each company’s situation is different, now is a good time to examine your IP portfolio and evaluate both what internal protections are in place and what external enforcement may be needed to ensure that your brand and IP will come out of this current crisis stronger than ever.
Talk with an experienced attorney at the Goosmann Law Firm, PLC, in our Omaha, Sioux City, or Sioux Falls offices to evaluate your current IP needs and the opportunities to make your company even stronger.