November 20, 2017
    CEO intellectual property checklist


    1) Have written copyright assignment or license/permission from all authors and speakers and for all written works, photographs, videos, and songs used by the Association
    2) Make sure all contractor agreements include provisions for ownership of copyrighted works
    3) When creating new works with another organization, make sure agreement specifies ownership and use of the work
    4) Register all publications with the U.S. Copyright Office
    5) Use copyright notice on all publications (Copyright, 2013, Association Name)
    6) Monitor use of Association publications by other parties and take action (cease and desist letter or take down notice) if unauthorized


    1) Inventory all Association trademarks/service marks, and identify important marks
    2) Register important marks through legal counsel with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other countries where appropriate
    3) Make sure all marks use notice (™ or ℠ for nonregistered marks; ® for registered marks)
    4) Monitor use of Association marks by others/third parties
    5) Be sure trademarks are used consistently by the Association and its chapters, affiliates, and members
    6) Take action (cease and desist letter; legal action) for any party’s use of confusingly similar marks
    7) Register domain names to ensure broad protection for Associations website and domains

    Social media

    1) Publish terms of use for Association social media (e.g., no anticompetitive, defamatory posts)
    2) Monitor use and remove violating posts and/or discipline posters
    3) Check insurance coverage for social media
    4) Have license/permission for use of any individual, name, image, or likeness


    1) Be sure privacy policy is published on website
    2) Ensure Association complies with the policy; that policy is consistent with how Association handles information
    3) Consult legal counsel to ensure compliance with any applicable federal, state, or international privacy laws and regulations (e.g., COPPA, HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, EU Data Protection Directive)
    4) Ensure compliance with PCI Data Security Standards


    1) Adopt policies and procedures to protect Association computers, PDAs (including staff personal PDAs), and website from hackers
    2) Ensure compliance with applicable state security breach laws
    3) Develop written information security plan (WISP)
    4) Check insurance coverage for data, privacy, or security breaches, including first party costs
    5) Audit compliance with privacy and security practices
    6) Develop document retention policies, especially with respect to threat of litigation when advice from legal counsel should be sought

    Technology contracts

    1) Have legal review of all contracts
    2) Make sure ownership/liability provisions protect Association
    3) Include preferred contract language in RFPs
    4) Make sure IT staff approves, understands, and can implement deliverable/acceptance terms

    Copyright, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP, 2013.

    This article is featured in the TRENDS special focus on Intellectual Property Law, sponsored by Whiteford, Taylor & Preston. Other articles: Top-7 social media issues for associationsProtecting an association’s trademarksCopyrights are critical for associationsCyberattacks are equal opportunity threatsPrivacy mattersManaging risk with technology contractorsGlossary of intellectual property terms

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