It is important to know the value attached to any intellectual property in your business and to understand about any copyright you own, patents, trade marks, company know-how and software licences. This is particularly relevant when you are selling or buying intellectual property as part of your business.
Patents protect inventions. More specifically, they protect the process of an invention. The invention must be new, there must be an inventive step and it must be capable of commercial application. If registered, a patent gives you a monopoly right to use the process and prevents others from using the patented technology without a licence.
Know-how, also known as trade secrets, is an intellectual property right which is often overlooked. It is usually embodied in key employees of your business who have particular knowledge that enhances your company's product or service, so adding value to the business. It can make up a company’s most valuable asset, so know-how should be vehemently protected and confidentiality contracts are essential. Such contracts can continue indefinitely and survive beyond termination of any employment.
Your company’s intellectual property, from processes to trade secrets, needs to be valued and protected.
How can Thorntons help?
Our Intellectual Property team can advise you on safeguarding these valuable assets and help you make sure you have fully considered any Corporate Intellectual Property issues when buying or selling a business. We can advise you on the relevant options for your business set-up, including patents and confidentiality contracts.
We have links to a network of patent specialists and we can put you in touch with the best adviser for your invention, as there is a high level of technical expertise required in patent applications and material differences between commercial sectors.
Our specialist lawyers regularly advise on the intellectual property aspects of corporate transactions, including complex cross-border transactions and stand-alone intellectual property procurement projects involving the buying and selling of valued intellectual property assets. In addition, we can advise on the best structure for your business, combining our specialist employment knowledge with comprehensive intellectual property advice.