In today’s business environment, intellectual property issues have become important in all types of businesses, even those that do not traditionally think of themselves as “high tech” or having significant IP assets. Our firm works with a number of true “tech” companies: software developers; game developers; software designed to be integrated with silicon chips to operate various hardware devices; and so on. These clients have complex intellectual property issues, and the scope of our services on their behalf is broad-based.
For clients in a tech industry, IP issues include: the identification and protection of trade secrets; establishing and implementing effective trade secret protection programs; invention protection (ensuring that what employees and contractors develop are actually owned by the client); and patent identification (although our firm does not directly handle patents, the ability to identify technology innovations that may benefit from patent protection is important to several clients). For these clients, there is also a significant amount of sophisticated licensing work (both in-bound and out-bound), so that they are able to better and more quickly develop their products, and in turn utilize them (and their other IP assets) to generate revenue.
For more traditional companies, intellectual property rights have also assumed greater importance. These clients benefit from the knowledge and experience gained from Mr. Mahler’s work on behalf of tech-company clients. For example, for a client with significant retail operations, where knowledge of client preferences in certain types of jobs were an important competitive advantage, we were able to structure and identify a trade secret database, establish a simple but effective protection program, and effectively protect that information from both competitors and employees who left to work for competitors.
For all clients, there are more traditional areas of intellectual property that add value to the business. These include: copyright protection for published and unpublished works (one client has a website with over 6,000 articles on professional baseball, another runs a website with thousands of video lessons for learning to play the guitar), trademark and service mark registration and protection, and even such simple matters as the use of photographs and testimonials in advertising campaigns and on websites.
Mr. Mahler truly enjoys intellectual property work. The variations are endless, the technology never ceases to amaze and impress, and the various legal and business structures are both challenging and novel.
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