Many once arcane intellectual property (IP) procedures are now accessible to lay businesspersons and citizens. The Internet provides instruction for almost everything, sometimes accurately. Widespread use of personal computers in many nations combined with cost-reduction pressures have encouraged government agencies to replace many paper forms by online applications, sometimes mandatory, or with higher fees for paper.
While many intellectual property activities can now be performed by laypersons, not all should. Not none should. Which tasks need experienced IP legal counsel and which can as efficiently be performed by lay persons and general legal practitioners depends on several factors, including the abilities and risk propensities of the layperson, the expected financial and emotional significance of the endeavor, and the projected competitive environment.
This article discusses the four main areas of intellectual property—trademark, copyright, patent, and trade secrets—as well as corporate, contract, insurance, and litigation matters, and offers some tips for those who lean toward Do-It-Yourself (“DIY”).
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