One of the biggest mistakes smaller companies in California and elsewhere make is assuming that they are too small to be noticed, and that this provides some sort of legal cover for their intellectual property (IP) assets. While they certainly understand the value of their intellectual property, and seek (often aggressively) to license their IP, and even engage a patent attorney in California to assist them in this endeavor, they rely solely on their small size and low profile for IP security, leaving them vulnerable.
Security Through Obscurity
The concept of security through obscurity is not new, and will not be unfamiliar to a patent attorney in California. The concept is simple: The best way to protect an IP asset is to simply keep it hidden so no one knows it exists until you’re ready to license it and monetize it. The failing is obvious: While this strategy may work assuming no one is looking for your IP assets in the first place, the moment the asset is noticed, it has no other security measures in place to protect it.
An Active Defense
This is why any patent attorney in California will advise their client, no matter how small or how limited their resources are, to take active steps to protect their IP assets, including basic patent applications (including research into prior art), registration of trademarks, and copyright assertions on documentation and marketing components.
These steps must be taken long before any attempt to license or otherwise monetize the IP are made, and should be firmly in place before any meetings are held with potential licensees. Relying on obscurity or a low-profile to protect assets is a mistake with expensive, sometimes company-ruining, consequences.