What Start-Ups Need to Know About IP

Regardless of your industry or if you’re selling goods or offering services, intellectual property will play a part in your start-up. Having a working knowledge of the basics of intellectual property laws will allow you to safely navigate through various business hurdles and challenges. Patents, copyrights, and trademarks are the three pillars that make up intellectual property, and they can all affect your business in different ways.


The most common kind of patent is a utility patent, which protect the following kinds of inventions:

  • Machines
  • Articles of manufacture
  • Compositions of a matter
  • Invention improvements
  • Processes or methods

The last bullet is a little known fact, but you can in fact patent a business method if it fits certain criteria. Most of the above listed terms are broad, but an Arizona patent lawyer at Parsons & Goltry can help you understand what each one means.

If your startup is based on an invention that matches one of these categories, a patent application needs to be in your immediate future. Getting your invention patented will protect your company from would be copycats trying to steal your invention.


A copyright is for anyone with a business based on original words or images. Books, plays, music, speeches, drawings, artwork, photos, and other such things all qualify for copyright protection.

You don’t have to register for copyright protection to be protected. Copyright protection is granted based on the first creation. However, if you ever have to sue someone for copyright infringement, you will need an officially registered copyright.


Trademarks are words, symbols, graphics, or signs that distinguish your brand from other brands. The purpose of a trademark is to avoid consumer confusion. Logos and slogans are the most commonly trademarked items, as they most easily identify brands.

Registering your company name and logo is a good idea for almost any company. This will protect your company from imposters trying to trade on your name or reputation.

This is not the full extent of what you need to know, but it’s a good start. If you have more questions about what your startup needs to know about intellectual property, call the intellectual property lawyers at Parsons & Goltry.

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"Our company has worked with a number of patent attorneys and were so pleased when we began working with Parsons & Goltry nearly a decade ago. Mike Goltry's knowledge and attention to detail has enabled us to have numerous products patented and trademarks registered. We highly recommend this Law Firm."

- Sharon K.


"Michael Goltry is the most professional, honest and effective patent attorney whom I ever met in my 40 year professional engineering career. I started to work with him over 20 years ago and plan to work indefinitely."

- Zoltan Kemeny, PhD, Struct. Eng.


"Mr. Goltry took a provisional patent that we'd filed ourselves, and quickly and professionally turned our innovation into U.S. and foreign applications. His [patent claims] were a thing of beauty, and I was amazed by how deftly he countered the inevitable office actions. His language held up, and the U.S. Patent just issued. He was easy and efficient to work with, and his fees were remarkably reasonable. We're not planning to go anywhere else, ever."

- Ski Milburn, CEO, Victori, LLC


"I applied for a patent through Parsons & Goltry. After being on the docket for 2 years at the USPTO, I received notification that my patent request had been denied. Michael Goltry contacted me immediately to review my options. After I informed him of my decision to move forward, he filed a response to the USPTO. In his response he got the examiner to fully understand the claims in the patent application and the "denied" decision was reversed. I was able to secure and receive a "patent granted" decision. Thank you, Michael Goltry."

- Kathy H., Inventor


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