To Invest or Not Invest in Protecting IP in a Startup

David Cummings on Startups

When walking down the glass hallways of the Atlanta Tech Village, a popular question is, “how do entrepreneurs keep all their trade secrets and intellectual property (IP) secure?” My response is that every idea someone is working on can already be found on Google. Nowadays, it isn’t about coming up with a novel idea, rather, it’s about out-executing everyone else.

So, if ideas aren’t the value anymore, how does investing in protecting IP fit in with startups?

Here are a few thoughts on investing in IP in a startup:

  • Paying for trademarks for company and product names is a no-brainer and an easy process (see the USPTO Trademarks site)
  • Avoiding patents is what most software entrepreneurs do now due to the high costs and long lead time to get a patent issued (it’s typically tens of thousands of dollars and 3-5 years and to get one patent, and there…

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