When it comes to building your architecture or design business, there's so much to consider. Beyong creating a and establishing a vision, you have to market it and find the right people to help you realize it. How do you protect that vision, though? That's the question that came up at a recent workshop on intellectural property sponsored by the IIDA NY and LMNOP, an organization dedicated to providing professional development to members of the architecture and design communities. We thought the topic was timely—especially in the digital age—and were delighted to have the organizations put us in touch with Cheryl Davis, of Menaker & Herrman LLP, to answer some questions on how you can safegaurd your own intellectural property.
Why should designers care about design in the context of intellectual property?
A designer’s stock-in-trade is his/her designs, which are, by their very nature, “intellectual property.” It just makes good business sense to protect the source of your income. Even if you don’t intend to use the design again, retaining ownership of it may give you leverage. For example, if the client refuses to pay you for your design services, you may be able to withdraw permission to use your design until the dispute has been resolved. If you choose to transfer your intellectual property rights, you should at least use them as a bargaining chip, rather than simply giving them away.