Protect Intellectual Property – The Basics
As a business owner, you are doing everything that is required to ensure that your office and everything in it is secure. After the close of work each day, you lock your office doors, with all security measures already checked. But what are you doing to secure the intangible property that you own? Yes, what steps are you taking to protect your important inventions, software, and brands?
Intellectual property can be very tricky and challenging to manage, track and protect than general and physical property due to its very nature. We often don’t pay enough attention to intellectual property even though it’s an essential component of every business that wants to thrive in the marketplace.
When you understand the enormous potential that intellectual property has, and how your business depends on it, protecting every intellectual property associated with your business will be high up on your priority list.
With the way, the electronic media, the internet, and other channels are changing the way consumers and the general public relate to your brand. The area of intellectual property also keeps evolving.
Here are some effective tips to help you protect your intellectual property:
Identify every intellectual property that you own
The very first step you need to take towards protecting your intellectual property is to settle down and identify your specific IPs. Although there are some interests or aspects you may not be able to protect, you will be able to protect those processes which are your unique way of transforming ideas into tangible form. To identify your IPs, you may need to answer these questions:
- What is my unique method of running my business that I wouldn’t want competitors to access without obtaining permission from me?
- What is the brand identity that sets me apart from the rest?
- Do I have the exclusive right to it, is it the property of my service provider or my vendor?
- Is there any law that can protect it such as trade secret, copyright, patent, or trademark law?
Write it down
As a business owner, you need to be proactive in all ways when it comes to taking steps to protect your intellectual property. You need to do a proper documentation of the IP you own and how others can use it. It’s not just enough to believe you own the right to a software just because you already paid the vendor who created it for you.
There is the need for you to have a written agreement on the ownership of such IPs. For instance, you should have a written and binding agreement which should say “any work done as an employee which falls under the work-for-hire doctrine belongs to the employer.” You should allow every intending employee to sign the agreement so as to avoid issues down the road.
Protect your brand in the digital space
Conduct a search on the internet regularly to see if you’ll find instances of infringement on your intellectual property rights. If you find any site using your brand in their domain name, you may file a cyber squatting (the practice of using other brands as part of yours in such a way that visitors think that brand is associated with your own) claim and stop them from using your brand.
Seek advice from intellectual property attorney
Do some thorough research and find lawyers who are intellectual property experts. Talk to them about your brand, your operation, and your interests. Seek to know how much your intellectual property is worth and the opportunity cost of doing nothing to protect it.
If possible, ask your attorney to help you register the appropriate IP rights such as trademark, copyright, patent, trade secrets, or ask him to advise you on online activities.
Need to do intellectual property analysis?
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