Q: I am concerned with protecting the intellectual property for a business startup that I'm currently engaged in. It has to do primarily with a certain business process/practice. How can I protect these practices?
A: You're wise to be concerned with protecting your company's intellectual property, as that can provide a valuable asset for the business over the long haul. Although different courts have been wrangling over this recently, depending on nature of the "business process/practice" you're referring to, it's possible you may be able to get patent protection for your particular business methods.
Also, depending on how these business processes will be used, they may provide the viable foundation for a franchise model. I'd recommend that you consult with a local patent attorney so that you can get feedback on the latest developments concerning business process method patents, or whether there are other ways to protect the intellectual property you are developing. Your business processes may also have aspects that need trademark and copyright protection as well, so an intellectual property specialist will be your first stop. It'll be worth the consultation fee. :-)
Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.