It’s not every day you wake up with a unique idea that leads to an invention or a breathtaking design. If you’re a designer, creative artist, or inventor, your design, invention, or creative artwork equates to intellectual property. Simply put, intellectual property refers to intangible property or work that results from unique thoughts and creativity of the mind.
If you were Mark Zuckerberg, you definitely wouldn’t want anyone to claim that they own Facebook and earn money from it. It so happens that intellectual property can have the potential to generate massive income depending on what it is all about. Moreover, some inventions and creative works cost millions of money and an incredibly long time before they can materialize. This brings in the need to ensure that your unique invention, design, or work is legally protected from infringement, unauthorized use, duplication, or distribution. On that note, here are 7 ways to make sure your intellectual property is safe.
1. Trademark, Patent, and Copyright Registration
An invention does not come on a golden platter. It often takes many years of time and effort to develop. You will, therefore, need to act fast to protect it from bloodthirsty entities out to benefit themselves with your tire and sweat without your permission. You will want to ensure you register your trademarks, patent, or copyright as fast as possible, whichever applies.
To determine which kind of protection suits you, you may want to work with an intellectual property attorney from the word go. As iterated by the Revision Legal patent attorneys, a patent for your invention will help block other people from creating products that resemble yours for about 20 years. Apart from helping to determine the patentability of your invention, IP lawyers can also help you with issues regarding patent licensing and patent infringement. Literary and artistic works are often protected by copyrights, whereas trademarks (discussed below) protect branding items like logos and so forth.
2. Educate Your Employees
Creating awareness is the best way to interject any problem before it appears, prevention is always better than cure. Companies should, therefore, invest in educating their employees through awareness workshops on intellectual property regularly. By enlightening your employees on phishing and other forms of IP theft, you can minimize the threat, even from the inner circles within the organization. Educate your employees on some of the ways the IP can leak to thieves and how best to guard it. The education will be worth it, considering the amount of time, effort, and finances you must have spent before birthing out your idea.
3. Avoid Joint Ownership
Another way to protect your IP is to avoid joint ownership if you can. This is because in a partnership, you might be forced to share sensitive information, and you never know if the other partner/s could leak it out. If you have developed an idea as a group, you can entrust the ownership of the property to one person, but involve a lawyer in creating a legal agreement between the parties.
Taking up insurance can be an extremely expensive affair. However, as an organization or an entrepreneur, it will pay you handsomely in case the unexpected happens. IP insurance will enable you to bypass IP risks or costs you might incur while pursuing any infringement claims against the organization or enforcing claims against infringers in a court of law. It’s much easier and cheaper, considering the huge costs you would incur as a person during the process.
5. Contracts for Non-Disclosure Agreement
To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to know the importance of contracts. Now, your own employees could also be a source of leakage of sensitive information regarding your intellectual property. Contracts and NDAs can help protect your IP by compelling your employees or business partners from sharing confidential information with your competitors.
6. Improve Data Security
It’s always wise to be proactive when it comes to matters of business. When it comes to securing your intellectual property, you will also want to make sure that your information database – of where the sensitive information is stored – is protected from hackers. Put strong cybersecurity measures in place to keep your sensitive information from external prying eyes. Also, have passcodes and limit the number of employees authorized to access such information.
7. Protect Your Trademark
With the latest advancement in technology, the internet has become a simplified medium that has increased the theft of IP. It will be worthwhile to ensure your brand is protected to shut out competitors or any other interested entities from stealing your trademark. Choose the best form of a patent to safeguard your invention.
In the world of business, your intellectual property makes you unique and gives you a typical edge over your against competitors in the market. Keeping your intellectual property safe should be the topmost priority for any firm, entity, or individual. The above are just a few ways you can ensure your IP is safe and secure.