You have an idea. You have a great idea. Your idea is so well developed and marketable that it can support an entire business startup. Have you protected your idea? Really protected it? Because while the law aims to protect intellectual property, criminals and competitors can compromise your ideas, products and share of the market swiftly and efficiently if you have not set up the proper legal barriers to shield you and your startup from such actions.

When you are first starting out, you may be far more concerned with funding than you are with legal protections. You may believe that lawyers should only be called if you find yourself in some sort of legal dispute. If you are under this assumption, it is understandable because popular culture tends to portray all lawyers as litigators. And yes, you should call an attorney in the event that someone attempts to compromise your intellectual property. However, it is vitally important that you seek out an attorney’s guidance in order to protect your intellectual property before it is compromised. Failure to do so could result in far more damage to your startup than would occur if you had been properly protected from the start.

When you are first starting a business, your ideas are by far the most valuable assets you may have available to you. As a result, it is critically important that you invest the time and resources necessary to protect them. If you are concerned about the costs associated with an attorney’s guidance, do not be afraid to reach out and ask if an attorney you believe would be a good fit for you and your business can be somewhat flexible about payment. Many attorneys who work with startups understand the financial pressures associated with creating a startup and will be willing to work something out.

Source: Forbes, “Protect Your Intellectual Property – Before It’s Too Late,” Mary Juetten, June 3, 2104