If you value your business assets as you should – inventions, designs, trade name, ideas, etc. – then, you will understand that signing a joint venture agreement cannot be a DIY activity. The first step to take in order to protect your business’s intellectual property (IP) is getting professional help. A business lawyer will shield your initial assets, license them, and gain new rights for the IP created during the venture.
Protect the Intellectual Property you bring to the table
First, the professionals you hire should conduct an Intellectual Property due diligence, to identify the assets (patents, registered designs, trademarks or copyrights) that each company contributes to the joint venture.
- As a general rule, the rights to any IP you bring to a partnership stays in your hands, you being the original owner.
- Before sharing any production details or trade secrets in the new venture, make sure that all your assets are registered and protected.
- However, if some of your initial patents or registered designs are necessary in the development of the new venture’s products, then licensed rights need to be negotiated with your partner.
Work out the IP created during the partnership
Any assets developed during the joint venture should be accounted for before the new business starts.
- Discuss how you want the IP rights to be assigned: this could include dividing ownership and/or agreeing on a licensing system.
- In most joint venture cases, the partners decide to divide the IP rights on a percentage basis. You should determine these percentages before the development of a new partnership.
- Also, outline an exit plan for the venture, in which you should again consider the IP rights.
To find out more about how to protect your intellectual property and patents during a joint venture in California, get in touch with our experts in IP and asset protection!