Attorney Jason Webb was recently interviewed for an article in Inc. In February 2018, Steve Farber wrote Your Company’s Real Value Is Hiding in Plain Sight. Here’s How to Find It, where he observes that entrepreneurs are often unaware that they even have intellectual property, let alone ensure its protection. Because Webb is a nationally respected intellectual property attorney as well as a friend, Farber reached out to Webb for his legal perspective.
Farber explains, “So I checked with my friend Jason Webb, a partner at Pearson Butler and Carson in Utah who specializes in intellectual property law, and I discovered that the so-called intangibles of my business–the ideas in my books, the terminology I’ve developed, my leadership processes, my brand, and logo, etc–may account for as much as 80 percent of my enterprise’s value.”
In the Inc. article, Webb provides 3 legal tips for entrepreneurs and businesses: identify your IP, protect your IP, and explore your IP options.
First, Identify your IP. “Webb defines intellectual property as a property you can’t touch. The chair you own is physical property. The design for the chair is intellectual property. Most businesses have intellectual property. The most common examples include your branding; your business model, methods, processes, or systems; your trade secrets; your customer lists; your patents or copyrights; and contracts you have with other people or companies. Webb recommends taking inventory every year or two by conducting an ‘IP audit.’”
Jason explains, “Start with a simple question: What is it about your business that’s special and unique and that would hurt your business if a competitor had it? When you answer that question, you’ll have a good idea of your intellectual property.”
Second, Protect your IP. In the article, Webb provides some basic ways to protect your intellectual property:
- Put contracts around it. For instance, you might have employees, freelancers and investors sign non-disclosure agreements.
- Use “warnings signs” like trademark notices, copyright notices, and patent-pending notices to make others aware of something you consider to be your IP.
- Use registrations such as an official federal trademark to legally protect your IP.
- Monitor the marketplace. Your sales team, for instance, typically is among the first to notice if a competitor is using something you would consider to be your intellectual property. And, as Webb says, “The sooner you act on it the better.”
Large mistake entrepreneurs make is neglecting their IP over time.
“It’s like a baby,” Webb says. “A baby doesn’t automatically protect itself. You have to pay attention to it.”
Third, Explore your IP options. Webb explains that “intellectual property often has value well beyond its initial use, but It’s up to business leaders to recognize ways to re-purpose it and take advantage of it. For instance, maybe you invented a unique applicator brush for cosmetics, but it also could be used in the medical industry.”
Webb uses the music industry as an example, pointing out the various verticals available for royalties. “Sometimes, more of your money will come from a secondary revenue stream,” Webb says, “than from the primary one that you created it for in the first place.”
Managing Partner, Carson Pearson, is pleased with the Inc. article. “We’re fortunate to have Jason Webb as a partner at Pearson Butler. He’s a bright attorney but also a good man. When we partnered up, Jason was instrumental in helping us protect our IP. He has a solid reputation in the legal industry and plays an integral role with our law firm.”
Do you have questions about intellectual property? If so, consider contacting Jason Webb at Pearson Butler. If you have any questions regarding our services or our firm, feel free to contact us at (800) 265-2314.