How to Protect Business Ideas?

In the age of instant communication, it’s not easy to protect business ideas. Depending on what kind of information is accessible to others, there are several options available to protect business ideas from being stolen or copied by third parties. If you want to ensure that your business partners or employees do not misappropriate or share important business ideas or information with others, your best bet may be to create an employment agreement/independent contractor agreement and/or a non-disclosure or non-compete agreement that includes certain confidentiality obligations and restrictive covenants in them.

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What is an NDA?

An NDA is a binding agreement between two (or more) parties that obligates a party or parties to maintain confidentiality. The confidentiality obligations can be mutual or uni-directional (one-way). Other provisions include exceptions to confidentiality, how long the obligations last, and what happens if someone breaches their obligations. It is a widely used document and something many startups and small businesses will come across at least once. This document should be in your files and ready to use with prospective business partners, vendors, contractors, employees, and others if necessary.  

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How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark?

The question, “how long does it take to get a trademark,” comes up quite often during our initial brand protection consultations. The short answer is; it depends. Perfect applications are rare. While we have filed applications that were registered in less than 7.5 months, the norm is closer to 9 months.

Each Examiner reviews an application subjectively, so it’s impossible to predict how they will scrutinize any individual application. Trademark law is a niche field and trademark applications are technical. An application could have any number of minor defects that are easily curable, such as:

  1. an insufficient specimen;
  2. insufficient identification of the goods/services; and/or
  3. filing an application in the wrong class.

Alternatively, an application filed by an inexperienced individual could be flawed in a way that would force the individual to abandon their application altogether.

U.S. citizens do not need to work with a trademark lawyer to apply for a trademark. However, it is highly recommended to do so. Additionally, a USPTO regulation from August 2019 requires foreign applicants to work with a U.S. licensed attorney. Trademark law is always changing. Using a lawyer who’s up-to-date on the latest trends and guidelines could help you save time and money.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark?

Timeline showing how long it generally takes to get a trademark

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