This article appeared in the March/April issue of AZ Business. Reprinted with permission from AZ BigMedia.

The Phoenix startup scene is hot right now, and not just from our months of 100-degree days. According to the founders of Tuft & Needle, who chose Phoenix over Silicon Valley for their startup mattress company, Phoenix is “unusually attractive—and more than a little underrated” for startups due to low costs, access to investors, and, of course, the weather. Not coincidentally, local startup incubators, accelerators, and funding facilitators like CO+HOOTS, Seed Spot, and Tallwave have emerged to ensure Phoenix continues to put the heat on Silicon Valley for attracting the next Facebook (or here, the next GoDaddy).

Startups are all about the next big idea, so they should be aware of the law that protects those ideas, called intellectual property (IP). IP grants exclusive rights to ideas and other intangibles that prevent competitors from using them. IP can be the primary lure for a startup’s investors, can form collateral for loans, and can be monetized through licensing. But as important as IP is, its costs and complexity present unique challenges to startups which, by definition, have few resources to spare. This article explains how a startup can identify its IP and take basic, affordable steps to protect it before the startup’s next plunge into the investor shark tank. More >

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