The technology sector in California holds intellectual property assets with values that reach billions of dollars. Companies of all sizes should take a proactive approach to protecting and managing their copyrights, patents and trade secrets. During a merger or acquisition, the stakeholders’ understanding of their rights could keep the process on track and avoid delays or disputes.

To focus on these vital assets, companies should develop employee agreements that build thorough protections. Both inbound and outbound licensing agreements require careful consideration as well. Companies might also benefit from crafting strategies for applying for patent protection. In some situations, maintaining an asset as a trade secret could provide more long-term protection than a patent.

The proactive identification of unclear ownership issues or troublesome employee or licensing agreements could allow a company to fix problems with contracts or adjust strategies at an early stage. If these problems arise during an acquisition or investment negotiation, then uncertainty could undermine the desired results. The valuation of a company might even be threatened when vulnerabilities go unaddressed in a company’s intellectual property foundation.

At times, a company might need to pursue business litigation to defend against infringement or enforce a licensing deal. An evaluation prepared by an attorney familiar with domestic and international intellectual property laws might identify appropriate strategies for advancing a company’s interests. Along with preparing documentation about intellectual property ownership, an attorney may communicate with opposing parties and propose remedies during negotiations. If discussions do not produce a desirable outcome, then an attorney may file a lawsuit. This effort might include organizing court filings and developing legal arguments based on the applicable laws. Should the case go to trial, an attorney may strive to select a sympathetic jury and communicate the information clearly.