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Commentator: Even the smartest entrepreneurs make this mistake

A commentator in the online publication Above The Law notes this fundamental point about the business principals whose creative ideas and energies fuel new startups across the country: they're exceptionally busy people.

And given that, he says, many of them fall prey to the same mistake that can severely mar or even destroy their enterprises before they've even had a chance to grow, namely this: inadequate attention paid to intellectual property from the very outset of their companies.

The principals in many startups, states writer Tom Kulik, are locked in so heavily on getting their businesses up, running and turning a profit "that they lose sight of foundational IP."

And that can be perilous, for multiple reasons.

For starters, not knowing precisely what you have in terms of key proprietary technology -- processes, know-how and so forth -- spells a potential for inadequate protection and the loss of invaluable assets.

Moreover, failure to properly integrate all key intellectual property components of a company -- Kulik puts that in terms of "without looking at how all the rights work together" -- can yield a "bleeding" pursuant to which rights are lost.

Many scary scenarios can result from an inadequate focus early on identifying and protecting IP. A particularly notable example supplied by Kulik is one in which investors who were sufficiently impressed by professed intellectual property ownership and protection to provide startup capital end up suing an enterprise because IP safeguards were in fact never obtained.

There is a clear admonition stated in Kulik's article, namely, a manifest warning against not focusing sufficiently on IP assets and fully protecting them when a startup is commenced and prior to its engagement in business operations.

Be timely, Kulik advises company decision makers, by working closely with seasoned business lawyers to "develop a game plan for allocation of resources and capital to develop, maintain and protect [IP] assets."

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