Image Courtesy: Jeff Sheldon @UnsplashSometimes if you hear something enough, you'll commit it to memory. And when it comes to your business, there are a lot of things you need to remember to keep straight. In the past, Mary Juetten, Traklight Founder and CEO, has written extensively about intangible assets, intellectual property (IP), and raising money for your startup. We wanted to recap some key points from some of her most popular Forbes contribution articles to help you get the investments you need for your startup. Follow these these intellectual property tips from Mary:

1. Protect your IP before it's too late

One of my favorite phrases that we use to get the importance of this concept across is, "You can't protect what you don't know you have." This must be a startup focus so you can develop your assets instead of risk losing them. Additionally, these intangible assets (including IP such as trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, employee agreements, etc.) make up about 90% of the value of a startup, so when you're considering putting your ideas out their with a crowdfunding campaign, or just raising investment money, you'd do well to protect your business by protecting your IP.

2. Develop good contracts

Here's another phrase: "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone." Yes, I understand how important it is to develop your prototype quickly and get it to market before your competitors, but sometimes the tortoise wins the race (oh man! I'm on a roll with the sayings!). Be sure you take the time to identify your IP, and write contracts that ensure you own the rights to that intellectual property. Finding a good attorney—one whose focus is on startups and helping small businesses make sure their own their IP—to help you is an important aspect of doing this right. Don't cut corners on an attorney. 

3. Know your IP strategy

If you've protected your IP, including developing good contracts, then you're on the road to a more robust IP strategy. This is one thing that investors will be looking for when determining whether to fund your startup. Even if you don't have the money to federally file for protection of your IP, be sure you acknowledge your plans to do so. Showing investors that you appreciate how valuable your intangible assets are to your company is huge. Another piece of this is identifying your competition and recognizing how your intangibles set you apart from them to distinguish your startup and make them want to invest.


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