Welcome back to the last installment of our "IP 101" series. It has been a unique pleasure to tackle these questions, and hopefully informative for those who have read them. Let's get into the final questions.
Can you have IP if you sell an existing product but marketing it differently than seen in the media?
Regardless of how you market your product, what truly matters is the IP on the product itself, whether that is copyright, trademark, patents, or trade secrets. With those you would be protecting your product, not how you market it. If you are attempting to market a totally different product that you filed for protection, then you need to seek legal advice to see if you are still protected.
Do client contact lists fall under IP?
Client contact lists can be trade secret IP and are the lifeblood of some companies. Trade secret rules vary state by state, but the overall concept is that if something is valuable to the business and took effort to create, then it may be considered as a trade secret.
I have a business name, logo and tagline that I want to register. Do I have to file an application for each separately? And would I have to file a separate one for each product name?
Depending on what or how much intellectual property you have surrounding your business, you will have to file for a number of applications for each. That means that you'll have to go through the process of protecting you business name, logo, trademarks and any other IP you have separately, and while this can be time consuming, is certainly preferable to risking it being stolen with little recourse.
If I take a picture of a building and post it on my blog, do I need a permission from the owner of the building?
If you're traveling and want to snap pictures of iconic or interesting buildings or locations, you are usually able to do so. People are a different matter, so be careful when taking pictures of strangers.
Our company employed an IP attorney to help us protect a written process as a trade secret through nondisclosure/non- compete clause with out contractors who perform work with our process (IP.) This includes a clause that they cannot do similar work or work for a competitor for two years after ceasing their contract with us. Do you have ideas on systematic ways to check to see if contractors who leave are honoring their NDA?
I'm unaware of any company or service that monitors contractors as such. For the purposes of the question I'll presume that you have multiple contractors that you want to keep tabs on. I would have your HR person keep in touch and/or check on LinkedIn as well as a Google search to see if they are working for competitors. Also, it's a good practice to remind employees and contractors of their confidentiality and trade secret responsibilities when you are doing an exit interview. It's not a guarantee that they'll live up to the agreement, but you can say that you did your part.