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Legal Checklist: Intellectual Property

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Summary...

  1. Intellectual property are assets of an individual or enterprise that are intangible. There are four kinds of intellectual property protections: trademarks, copyright, patents, and trade secrets.
  2. In the process of protecting your nonprofit’s intellectual property rights, a good place to start is knowing who owns the intellectual property of your organization’s key elements.
  3. Nonprofits need to respect the intellectual property rights of others, just as you want others to honor the intellectual property rights of your organization. Intellectual property litigation is expensive. Adopt a policy that respects the intellectual property rights of others, which includes searching to see if others have adopted intellectual property similar to your organization’s prior to your adoption.
  4. The general public wants to know how you are going to use the information given to your organization, particularly if gathered through a website. A privacy policy keeps web communication honest by telling visitors about the collection, storage, and use of their information.
  5. Your nonprofit’s online presence opens the door for intellectual property challenges, both in how you use the information from others and how others make use of your information.
Reflect

Here are some questions to think about...

  • How are you protecting your nonprofit’s ideas and products, which may include websites, print materials, or unique research on the issues your organization addresses?
  • How is your nonprofit respecting the intellectual property rights of others? What specific actions do board members, volunteers, and/or staff take?
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Next steps...

Chapter Materials

Let’s Go Legal Guide

Start by downloading the Let's Go Legal guide that includes checklists, activities, and reflection questions. As ...
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