Monthly Archives: November 2013

Protecting Your Company From Patent Trolls

The term “patent troll” has entered the corporate vernacular thanks in large part to the ongoing “smartphone patent wars” as well as the increasing number of companies that have begun to take a stand in fighting the malicious behavior of entities that exist solely for filing frivolous patent litigation.

According to a White House report released earlier this year, patent trolls are defined as:

“Companies that do not make products, but buy up or own patents and sue businesses they claim are infringing on those rights in order to collect licensing fees.”

In the words of President Obama, these entities “don’t actually produce anything themselves,” but instead develop a business model “to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.”

The government believes that patent trolls are a drain on the American economy that requires legislative action to level the playing field for innovators. But waiting for Congress to act is no way to protect your company from patent trolls.

Here are three ways you can take action now:

Prevention. You can search for patents and trademarks online so you do not introduce anything to the market that already has a patent or trademark.

IP Insurance. Frivolous patent infringement suits have become so common that some insurance companies offer policies to help protect businesses from patent litigation.

Legal help. If you receive notification of a patent lawsuit or a letter demanding payment, consult a business attorney before you do anything. An attorney can also work with you to ensure your patents, trademarks and copyrights are current and identify any areas of concern for management.

If you are interested in learning more about business asset protection strategies, call us today to schedule your comprehensive LIFT™ (legal, insurance, financial and tax) Foundation Audit. Normally, this session is $1,250, but if you mention this article and we still have room on our calendar this month, we will waive that fee.

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Business

Baby boomers are the most entrepreneurial generation, with much of their personal wealth tied up in the businesses they own. This makes it more important than ever for boomers to undertake some business estate planning for when it’s time to transition into retirement. Experts caution business owners to avoid these common mistakes when preparing to… Continue Reading

Will Your Company’s Non-Compete Agreement Be Enforceable?

Non-compete agreements have traditionally been a trusted business tool to help companies protect proprietary information that is central to their business. However, the proliferation of these agreements in the past decade or so has caused them to lose their teeth in courts across the country. Here are some tips on implementing non-compete agreements that will… Continue Reading

5 Tax Tips for Small Business

According to SBA data, more than 79 percent of small businesses have no employees – meaning that a majority of small business owners are doing it all. And when tax season rolls around, it can mean plenty of stress for owners of small businesses. A recent Washington Post column provided these five tax season tips… Continue Reading

New Help for Financial Caregivers

If you are helping an elderly parent or relative manage their finances or have been given a power of attorney, then you have both legal and ethical obligations in your role as a fiduciary. Basically, a fiduciary is legally bound to: Act in the person’s best interest. You are not allowed to use their money… Continue Reading