Are you doing enough to protect intellectual property on behalf of your business? If not, you shouldn’t be too surprised if others come along and swipe your IP from you.
Intellectual property is anything that your company creates based on original thoughts from either you or those who work for your business. It can include everything from the inventions that you use to manufacture products to the web design that you utilize to put together a website.
Intellectual property protection is very important because it’ll stop others from benefitting from your great ideas. You should see to it that you take the right steps to protect intellectual property at all costs.
We’ve come up with a list of ways in which you can stop others from obtaining your intellectual property and using it to their own advantage. Find out how to do it below.
Keep Intellectual Property a Secret
If your company is working on an amazing new product that you think is going to change the world, you might be tempted to talk to other people about it. But you’ll be making a big mistake if you do this.
Unless you’ve already taken steps to protect intellectual property, there won’t be anything stopping someone from taking your idea for a product and using it themselves. You might have a tough time proving that you came up with the idea first in court.
Generally speaking, you shouldn’t talk to anyone about any intellectual property until you’ve gone through the proper procedures and laid claim to it (more on this in a few moments!). Otherwise, they might steal it from right under your nose and get to use it before you do.
Ask Employees to Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements
You might remain tight-lipped about the things that your company is working on. But are your employees doing the same thing?
Some of them might automatically keep your intellectual property a secret without you having to ask them to. But others might blab about it unless you put precautions in place to stop them from talking.
To be on the safe side, you should ask your employees to sign non-disclosure agreements, also known as NDAs. These NDAs will forbid them from sharing any of your company’s secrets in a legal sense. If they end up talking to anyone outside your company about what you’re working on, you can take them to court and collect compensation.
Document the Origins of Intellectual Property
From the second that you suspect you might be creating a piece of intellectual property, you should begin documenting its origins. This will show that you created intellectual property on your own and didn’t steal it from anyone else.
For example, if you’re putting together plans for a new product, you should create sketches of it and hang onto them. If you’re mapping out a new website, you should save any early designs that you have for it.
The more you’re able to document when it comes to intellectual property, the easier it’ll be to prove that your company created something. You won’t have to worry about someone else coming along and trying to tell everyone that they were the ones who came up with your IP when you have proof.
Enlist the Services of an Intellectual Property Lawyer
Intellectual property protection can be a tricky thing for the average person. Even if you have a good business mind, you might still struggle to wrap your head around all the different intellectual property rules and regulations.
For this reason, it would be a smart idea to contact an intellectual property lawyer when you first start your company. You’ll be able to consult with them any time you have a new piece of IP you would like to protect.
A great intellectual property attorney is going to be able to speak with you more about how to protect intellectual property. They’ll also be able to do work on the backend to provide your IP with all the protection it needs from a legal perspective.
Apply for Trademarks for Intellectual Property
Unfortunately, you can do everything that we’ve talked about thus far and still run into problems with it comes to protecting intellectual property. It’s why you’re going to need to go the extra mile and apply for trademarks for any intellectual property you want to protect to the fullest.
The good news is that you can apply for trademarks for ideas, logos, products, etc. right online these days. But you should still search for a business lawyer who can help you with the application process.
It can take a long time to get your hands on a trademark for IP. They’ll be there for you every step of the way and will make it less stressful for you.
Take Action Against Those Who Steal Intellectual Property
No matter how hard you might work to protect intellectual property, there is still always a chance that someone will ignore your trademarks and hijack your ideas, products, etc. In the event that this happens, you will need to take swift action.
First and foremost, you’ll need to have your IP lawyer touch base with whoever is using your intellectual property to ask them to stop. From there, you’ll need to work on taking them to court if they refuse to listen to your lawyer.
Whatever you do, you shouldn’t ever turn a blind eye to intellectual property theft. Other individuals and companies might take notice and try to steal more IPs from you if they don’t think you’ll do anything about it.
Protect Intellectual Property by Any Means Necessary
Your company’s intellectual property is going to be the lifeblood of your business. Your business might be doomed if others start stealing your IP and using it for themselves.
Take each of the steps we’ve listed here to protect intellectual property. It’ll ensure your company will be the only one that can benefit from your original ideas.
Poke around on the rest of our blog to find more articles that’ll help you run a successful business.