Basic Training: Startup Patent Protection

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
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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. :-)

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