We recommend intellectual property protections to our Texas clients to safeguard their software at various levels and in all industries. The critical determination is whether the client should seek patent protection or copyright. Our recommendation is based on our thorough understanding of the underlying technology and what is the best solution to protect the software from potential theft which is a huge risk in the IP arena. Critical to our work is our sophistication in the area of electrical engineering and computer programming. Our AV-rated staff has decades of experience in both areas and is available to provide any level of service to our clients whether protection of existing IP, iterations of same, and retention.
We are particularly sensitive to the loss of IP during the developmental phase and work with clients on ensuring its confidentiality and that anyone who touches the code is subject to contractual restrictions which are severe. This is often overlooked and causes great peril to the venture as it progresses from development to product.
The volatility surrounding the creation of new technology can be daunting to business owners. The risks of misappropriation are everywhere including employees, competitors, beta testers, and others. Inexperience or even a small mistake can jeopardize the entire venture. Nondisclosure agreements are a weak form of protection, and we recommend other extrinsic contracts to build firewalls between the IP and those getting near it in any way. This is often overlooked when recruiting beta testers who can easily prove up the efficacy of the product and then steal it. Clients need to be advised on how to implement a safe beta testing strategy.
One of the critical concerns is the need for immediate intellectual property protection given the novelty of the software. Many clients wait too long before dedicating any resources to intellectual property protection. This is a huge mistake and can have horrific effects on the very survival of the business. It is not uncommon for our firm to recommend that a provisional patent be filed immediately to protect the patentable product or service during the one-year window and then facilitate the creation of the requisite entity structure and funding mechanism. The point is that delay or uncertainty can have disastrous effects.
Clients must also be advised on strategies to license their products through relationships with third-party vendors and resellers. There are different approaches and modalities available to bring a product to market and it is critical that the law firm understands these business essentials and the suite of legal services which work hand-in-hand.
From a patent standpoint, the firm must be equipped to do a thorough patentability opinion to minimize the possibility of litigation which can result in liability and expense. Our firm has the expertise in electrical engineering, computer programming, and mechanical processes to properly evaluate all filed patents to advise the client whether there is even a small potential for infringement.
Corporate law is also critical as the entity structure must anticipate future funding without the dissipation of ownership by the founders. This discussion needs to be conducted at inception for proper planning and control.
We have worked with clients on developing their Texas software applications for different products including discrete oil and gas services and automation. The development and marketing of applications is a core area of e-commerce and revenue. Very much like software development, the client must determine whether the IP should be protected by patents, copyrights, or a combination thereof. Additionally, a marketing component is usually heavily involved as the application needs to have its own brand whether a wordmark, logo, or both. Our trademark services are thus essential to protecting the ownership and viability of the application.