How Can I Protect My Company’s Intellectual Property?Atlanta CPA on Protecting Georgia Business Owners Proprietary Intellectual Property Rights
If your firm has incurred substantive time and expense in developing ideas, markets, story lines, and characters which belong exclusively to the firm you will want to be sure you legally protect them. This intellectual property, whether presently existing or subsequently created, belongs exclusively to the firm and the only way to help ensure their protection is to do so formally in a fully executed agreement. In the event these ideas were utilized in any form without your express written permission, irreparable harm would be caused precluding you from protecting the very thing it was intended to correct. A well drafted agreement should document that others will in no way directly or indirectly assist, empower, either by investment, equity ownership, or any other method either presently or from hence forth utilize or assist others to use in any fashion any literary and artistic works, symbols, images, names, designs, and all Intellectual Property belonging to the Firm.
"As President of His CPA PC we have helped and watched several Atlanta business owners grow their business well into the tens of millions of gross annual revenue. As a CPA serving Metro Atlanta we have watched as many have gained “critical mass” resulting in the strategic need to have reasonable enforceable non-compete agreements on key employees and to protect the Intellectual Property of the business. Protect your company assets so that its ideas and intellectual property do not walk out the front door."
— John Dillard CPA
Although your employees and independent contractors may, by nature of their work, have need to review confidential and proprietary materials of the firm, you will want to be sure that they will not in any way utilize this confidential and proprietary information either by their own actions or by forwarding this information to others. You will also want parties to commit to not disclosing any of the ideas, thoughts, materials, artistic, and literary materials to any parties or to utilize any for their own gain or use. You should have a well drafted agreement which documents and details that all of the Trade Secrets/Intellectual Property specifically referred to above and herein after created belong exclusively to the Firm and that they commit to not utilizing them by their own efforts or forward to others who might use in any way.
Although you will/might have those who may be paid for their work, you will want to ensure that all of these works and efforts become the full and legal title of your firm and that others express no ownership of any type in such property. Accordingly your firm’s inalienable rights in all intellectual property, trade secrets, literary and artistic works, and that others will not be paid a royalty of any type thereon.
You will also want to ensure that the firm takes steps to protect its rights either by registration, copyright, or by any legal proceeding against others so that the Firm maintains all of its rights there-under and does not expressly or implicitly waive any of its full and just ownership. The document should acknowledge that all parties signed this agreement of their own free will and volition and that by doing so they are also personally guaranteeing the performance of this agreement. This will add the extra measure of their full legal commitment to the agreement.
In the event others fail in their contractual responsibilities as described you will want a clause whereby they acknowledge that they will reimburse the firm for any and all damages including out of pocket expenses, billings for lost time, energy and efforts, legal fees, lost profits, and treble damages.
The agreement should document that it is drafted under the terms and conditions of laws of which state (usually where the business is located) the state of Georgia and if a legal proceeding is required, at any point, it will be tried in Superior Court in the county of the Firm’s then legal domicile.
Language should be documented acknowledging that this is the entire agreement between the parties and that there are no other agreements either written or verbal which are or can be made a part or portion of this agreement and that any modifications to this agreement may only be made with the expressed written consent/permission of your firm.
All legal agreements should be well drafted, clear, concise and approved by an attorney. Care should be exercised to ensure that all agreements are fully executed and then placed in an appropriate safeguard such as a safety deposit box.
We are frequently asked to think outside the box. Serving as a Part-Time CFO for your business we look to items both seen and unseen in doing all that is prudent in protecting the overall assets of your business. By combing decades of experience of managing my own business as well as in corporate America we are well versed and able to provide you with a comprehensive overview of what you can do to protect your company’s assets.
Call us today and we can get started on ensuring your most valuable properties are not walking out the door now.