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What is the importance of patents and copyrights for start-up founders?

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What is the importance of patents / copyrights for startup founders? originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique ideas .

Response of Raad Ahmed, CEO and founder of LawTrades.com, to Quora:

For a startup founder, patents and copyrights can be very important, marginally relevant, or somewhere in between. So, how do you determine the level of importance? More and more startups are creating a IP strategy that can serve as a useful framework for dealing with your different IP addresses as your startup grows.

Too often, startups spend exorbitant amounts on things they do not necessarily need as a provisional patent application. That's why it's important for a start-up founder to learn a little by himself to make an informed and professional decision. Creating an IP strategy is particularly useful for startups that do not have the funds for a lawyer to take care of it.

How do you develop an intellectual property strategy? You must first identify the IP address of your startup in its arsenal. To do this you will need to learn the types of things that can be protected by patents, trademarks and copyrights. (Take a look at this post for that). As you research the different forms of IP, ask yourself: is it something I can do myself? How would it cost? Can I be fucked up by not registering this IP address?

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It is also important to evaluate your industry by seeing what your competitor has about intellectual property. After all, you do not want to encroach on the IP address of another company. Try to perform a patent search using the name of the company as "Inventor", and a trademark search here . If your competitor does not have patents, this may indicate that it is not necessary to apply for one. After all you should have an idea if your startup has a valuable IP. It is also important to spend time looking for the types of agreements that can also protect your IP, such as confidentiality agreements and PI assignment agreements.

On the one hand IP can propel a business into instant success, but it can also dry up a company's well by spending when it should not or allowing a competitor to fly and steal intellectual property. Make sure to walk lightly!
This question originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are solved by people with unique ideas. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. More questions:

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