At Suiter Swantz IP, we understand the unique intellectual property (IP) challenges faced by startups and small businesses.
Startups are particularly sensitive to IP protection, or the lack thereof, as a significant amount of a startup’s business may be associated with a single good or service. An ineffective IP strategy may doom a company before it gets off the ground. Our practitioners are well versed in navigating the IP landscape in a manner that minimizes cost and maximizes value. At Suiter Swantz IP, our goal is to provide startups and small businesses with a strong, valuable and flexible IP footing.
Suiter Swantz IP has over two decades of experience in tech hubs, such as Silicon Valley, Seattle and Austin. In addition to experience in the nation’s biggest startup hubs, we have a long and successful history of working with local startups scattered across the Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota region. Our practitioners are active supporters of the local startup community, with many of our attorneys, over the years, serving as mentors for local accelerators and incubators such as NMOTION, STRAIGHTSHOT, OMAHA STARTUP COLLABORATIVE and YEAR OF THE STARTUP.
Categories of IP
Intellectual Property law provides for the protection of a variety of intangible assets, which allow a business to limit the unauthorized use of their IP. At Suiter Swantz IP, we work hard at transforming your innovation into assets that you can use. These assets may include inventions, company names, logos, symbols, software code, writings, designs, music, recipes and similar intellectual works. Intellectual property protection encompasses the following categories: patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Startups and small businesses also often require the use of contractual agreements, such as non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), work-for-hire agreements and licensing agreements to protect their IP.
The failure to secure IP rights related to your product, service or brand may negatively impact a startup’s ability to fend off copycat efforts by competitors. The inability to fend off copycat efforts may reduce market capture and lessen the likelihood of acquiring investment capital. Our patent attorneys will help you efficiently and effectively secure enforceable IP rights, allowing you to minimize the risk of undesired use of your intellectual property.
Failing to understand the IP landscape may also lead to inadvertent infringement of a competitor’s IP rights. This could lead to undesired legal proceedings and, worse, the forced abandonment of your product, service or brand. Such forms of infringement include patent infringement, trademark infringement and copyright infringement. A startup is particularly sensitive to being exposed to litigation in technologies, such as software, which have experienced a high level of patenting activity over the last two decades. Our practitioners can help identify IP rights of others in an effort to reduce the likelihood of infringement and reduce a company’s risk in the long run.
Budget Constraints and Timing
Suiter Swantz IP understands that startups are typically disadvantaged due to the lack of budgetary allowances available for IP protection. Our practitioners can craft a variety of cost-savings approaches that may be used to assist in minimizing or deferring cost for budget-limited startups and small businesses.
The financial constraints experienced by most startups and small businesses are compounded by strict government-imposed timing requirements associated with some forms of IP, particularly patents. It is important to speak with a patent attorney before any public use, offer of sale, sale, publication, or other public disclosure of the given subject matter. Failure to timely file a patent application may result in a dedication of the subject matter (i.e., the invention) to the public (and thus a loss of patent rights). While United States law may provide for a grace period in some instances, your particular situation should be discussed with a patent attorney.
If you have any questions about startup assistance or need assistance with any patent, trademark or copyright matters and would like to speak to one of our patent attorneys please feel free to contact us.