You need an Intellectual Property consultant whenever you are thinking about entering the marketplace with a new idea. If you’re starting a new business, you need to consider whether the name you want to use is already being used, if an associated domain name is available, if the name is protectible as a trademark, and how you want to portray your image.
If you are developing new technology, an Intellectual Property consultant can tell you how to document the idea, how to maintain confidentiality or how to properly disclose it to others, what you need to do to further develop the idea, how to avoid infringing on other people’s ideas, where to go for funding, and how to license technology. A specialist in Intellectual Property can also explain what you need to file a patent application, what to do if you have joint inventors, and the difference between utility patents, design patents, and provisional patents.
The Intellectual Property consultant can tell you whether your idea would be better protected by filing a Copyright registration than by filing a patent. Generally, Copyright protects a particular expression of an idea, while patents protect all reasonably foreseeable expressions of an idea.
Perhaps the best use of an Intellectual Property consultant is for planning out a comprehensive strategy for how to commercialize an idea with the best mix of market exposure with protections in place, which can be tricky in some cases.
Finally, an Intellectual Property consultant can help you avoid disputes and costly litigation, and inform you how to use Alternative Dispute Resolution if you do find yourself in a conflict over an invention or other Intellectual Property.