3 Startup IP Mistakes

Weiss & Moy

Weiss & Moy, P.C. is a full-service intellectual property law firm that provides a comprehensive offering of intellectual property legal services and has been open for 38 years.  It was started in Arizona in 1976 by Harry Weiss, a former senior patent attorney at IBM. The firm later opened its Las Vegas office in 1996.

“We opened the Las Vegas office when Harry Weiss moved to Las Vegas to support his wife’s career goals,” said Veronica Cao, Partner. “His wife was an immigration judge in Las Vegas, now retired.  We have found that Las Vegas is full of brilliant inventors and we wanted to continue to provide our services to them, even after Harry Weiss passed away in 2008.”

Veronica Cao says IP is potentially valuable for all tech companies, and whether an entrepreneur has invented something patentable would be determined on a case by case basis. She says there are 3 common mistakes she sees early stage startups make when it comes to IP.

“First, not protecting potentially valuable IP,” she said.  “Some people do not realize that they may have invented something that they could potentially obtain patent protection for.  A company or individual can obtain an advantage in the marketplace because a patent gives the patent holder the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an the patented invention. If anyone has ever watched the TV show Shark Tank, you’ll notice that savvy investors recognize the value of IP. Furthermore, a patent holder may either sell the patent outright or may offer license agreements to other entities that may wish to practice the patented invention.”

“Second, some entrepreneurs don’t seek to identify their IP until it’s too late,” she continued. “Some inventors will publicly disclose their invention, not realizing that they may be jeopardizing their opportunity to file for a patent on their invention.  In the U.S. you have only one year after publicly disclosing (or offering your invention for sale) to file a patent application.  However, foreign countries sometimes have shorter grace periods, depending on the foreign country in which you are interested in seeking patent protection.  Furthermore, in the U.S., if two inventors file patent applications on the same invention, the right of priority is given to the inventor who was the first-to-file his/her application. Our firm offers IP audits to assist companies and individuals with identifying their potentially valuable IP so that steps can be taken to start protecting it.”

Finally, Veronica Cao says some startup founders don’t recognize that there are several types of IP.

“Patents are not the only type of IP.  Copyrights (e.g. works of art) and Trademarks (e.g. a name, logo, slogan) are also protectable forms of IP,” she explained.  “For example, in the marketplace, brand recognition is key. Over time, the trademarked name (e.g. NIKE®), logo (e.g. the NIKE® swoosh), or slogan (e.g. JUST DO IT®) may prove to be extremely valuable.”

Although the main Weiss & Moy office is in Scottsdale, AZ, the team has an office in Las Vegas that they occupy each Friday to meet with potential Las Vegas clients.

“Our Las Vegas office is located at Howard Hughes Business Suites: 3753 Howard Hughes Parkway #200, Las Vegas, NV.  If you’d like to make an appointment, please call (702) 784-7682 You can and ask to meet with me in our Vegas office,” said Veronica Cao. “The first 30 minute consultation is absolutely free.”

Check out the firm’s website for general information: www.weissiplaw.com

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