Protecting intellectual property is a very important part of any successful business owner because it is the act of keeping your brightest ideas kept safe. Don’t be one of those people who gets their money making ideas stolen because they did not protect it the right way.
The Top Tips for Protecting Intellectual Property Everyone Should Know
So, you are ready with your business plan, the office space is ready, you have got your staff and you are ready to roll with your idea. Over next week, you find out that someone else has gone ahead with your precious idea and is already set shop.
Won’t that be a nightmare? Well, then, it is high time, you think about securing your precious idea. This is where the concept of Intellectual Property or IP comes into the picture.
Know More About IP
Intellectual property could be an idea, an innovation, a new product, a unique business plan or anything that is new and one of its kind. Everything related to your brand could be a form of IP, such as your logo, website design, the songs you have created, marketing materials and even your recipes and your packaging design.
In summary, anything created for your business or anything related to it is considered to be an intellectual property. To prevent intellectual property theft, you should take necessary and immediate action.
We have listed here the steps you should take to protect your Intellectual Property:
Find out if your idea is indeed original: You may wonder why this is necessary. In today’s era of the internet and startups, chances are that a version of your idea or something similar is already out there. So first you need to establish the authenticity of your idea by checking patent databases and other resources to confirm that there are no similar versions yet. You can even seek expert help in the matter.
If it is a new product you are launching, then document all the stages of its creation, from the first sketch to the prototypes you have created in the process.
Protect your IP: Do it the right way. File for IP protection under copyright, patent and trademark laws. Patents help you prevent others from using, making or selling your product. You can approach the US Patent and Trademark Office for the same.
Trademark protection is for your logo, name, or any symbol or design that you have created for your business which gives an identity to your business. Trademark (TM) is used to signify common-law rights. When you register your trademark with the USPTO, you can use the “R” symbol.
Copyrights are for all ‘original works of authorship’ for literary creations, musical works, artistic works, etc.
Get the help of a lawyer: Your Intellectual Property is the key to your business and the basis of your survival, so it is important that you take all measures to ensure intellectual property protection. Here is where an intellectual property attorney can be of help.
Keep IP with the company: You should have legal documents that say that any idea generated for the company, be it a product, name or software, will be the sole property of the company. This is not just for the employees but also for the founders. You could include this clause in the founder’s agreement as well.
Draw up Confidential or Non Disclosure and Assignment Agreements: In the age of social media, it does not take much time for your business secrets and plans to be exposed.
A recent incident in which Apple fired its engineer after his daughter posted a video on iPhone X before its official launch is an example. Well, this is not the case of IP, yet, it is a case of breach of trust, though inadvertently. Your intellectual property lawyer can draft a detailed and clear agreement for you.
The agreements are binding on employees and also third parties including consultants and vendors. These are legal documents and anyone breaching it could be sued. You can also include co-founders in the agreement or add the clauses in the Founder’s Agreement. Check the clauses and ensure that it covers everyone associated with your company, even remote workers.
Gather as much as knowledge: With the legal agreements in place, you have nothing to worry. Having a lawyer to help you out in protecting your intellectual property is also assuring. Yet, as the business owner, you should know what more can be done to further protect and secure your intellectual property.
Get in Touch with Us
The attorneys at Paul and Paul are always ready to hear out your case! Try to read up and understand every aspect related to it so that if there are any loopholes, you can consult your intellectual property attorney to find out on how to turn them around before they cause any damage. Give us a call at 866-975-7231 to get your IP or patent related questions answered.