by Stephanie Pottick, Esq., Pottick Legislation PC & Shield for Success
“Present me the cash!” that well-known line from Jerry Maguire. Admit it: You simply shouted it in your head like Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Cruise do within the film. Whenever you’re on the point of pitch your thought, whether or not it’s a product or a property, you’re secretly considering, “Present me the cash!” You need to make a deal.
So, what do you’ll want to do to make that occur? In fact, you’ve most likely thought to analysis your market and business, in addition to the businesses to which you’ll ship your pitch; create an incredible presentation; be enthusiastic; observe what you’re going to say; and exude confidence. I wager that authorized might be the very last thing in your thoughts, nevertheless it actually ought to be one of many first stuff you take into account. Generally, the legal stuff could make or break your possibilities for achievement.
Don’t let the authorized stuff scare you! Listed here are some fast ideas for what to do earlier than you pitch your thought:
1. Establish your mental property (IP): Your thought is hopefully distinctive, which suggests it ought to qualify for some form of IP safety, whether or not it’s a trademark, a copyright, or a patent (or typically multiple of those). Understanding what you could have is half the battle.
• Trademark: protects your model — can embrace issues equivalent to names, logos, taglines, and extra
• Copyright: protects a artistic work — can embrace photographs, logos, movies, illustrations, and extra
• Patent: protects new, helpful, non-obvious innovations and designs — can embrace toys, units, and extra
In spite of everything, if you happen to don’t have a playbook and take stock of what you could have, how will you understand what to guard?
2. Be sure you personal your IP: As you may remember from our last article, simply since you paid for one thing doesn’t imply you personal the IP. Guarantee anybody who helps you with graphic designs, photographs, movies, software program, content material, and your web site indicators a contract that provides you (or your organization) the IP possession related to the creations made for you. Don’t allow them to block you at “1st and Objective” — rating that landing! Don’t let another person have management over your IP and be capable of come into the image since you didn’t take this step and do your due diligence earlier than signing on the dotted line.
3. Shield your IP: When you’ve found out what IP you could have and whether or not you personal it, it’s time to resolve what you are feeling is suitable to guard. And sure, it prices cash to guard your IP, nevertheless it’s most likely extra reasonably priced than you suppose and may very well be the rationale you profit out of your exhausting work. Don’t let your quarterback (aka your IP) get sacked. Generally your IP may be the MVP of your corporation.
4. A fast observe on Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): For those who pitch to an organization, they’ll most likely ask you to signal an NDA. Simply bear in mind it could say one thing completely different than what you suppose it does.
In my expertise, company-issued NDAs normally give them safety by saying they could already be engaged on an thought like yours, so I at all times advocate studying and understanding any doc earlier than you signal it. It will probably make the distinction between shedding and maintaining your IP.
Don’t get caught off guard. Analysis the folks and corporations you’ll be assembly with to get a really feel for who they’re. Generally that may make you are feeling extra snug earlier than you head into your assembly.
Studying what steps you’ll be able to take legally is a good begin to assist empower you to make higher enterprise choices and provide the confidence you want on your subsequent pitch. So, rating that landing, spike that ball, and bear in mind to say, “Present me the cash!” Belief me — as a former NFL agent, I do know what I’m speaking about. Good luck; you bought this!
*Disclaimer: This text is for informational functions solely and never supposed as authorized recommendation.
A model of this text was initially printed within the 2023 Classics & Specialty Situation of The Toy E-book. Click here to learn the total problem! Wish to obtain The Toy E-book in print? Click here for subscription choices!