How Do You Protect Your Intellectual Property? A Business Owner’s Guide

You spent valuable time creating your products, designs and ideas. That’s why it’s essential that you protect them. Unfortunately, many people exploit other’s creativity, especially small businesses. Luckily for you, there is a range of ways to protect your intellectual property. We’ve discussed a few of them below, so why don’t you read ahead?

Avoid Joint Partnerships

You may have started your business with a few partners. Although great, they also own the right to the intellectual property in your business. After all, they’re its owners as well.

This can be dangerous as they could use these ideas to create products and services outside of your company. They could leave your establishment and compete with you, as a result.

Copyright Your Work

You can copyright a creative work, whether it’s tangible or not. The moment you create something, it’s yours. You don’t need to register it. However, someone may have stolen your idea. This is especially true in the world of art and design. If you’re a graphic designer, unfortunately, it’s common to see other artists steal your work.

If you want to take legal action, you’ll have to copyright your piece. Once again, this is where an intellectual property lawyer comes into play.

Unfortunately, copyrights don’t last forever. In the US, 70 years after you have passed away, your claim is reversed.

Trademark Your Work

Businesses need logos, slogans, mascots and designs to help them stand out. It’s unfortunate situation if competitors are stealing these as they help you stand out. To prevent this from taking place, you’ll trademark them.

You can trademark any of the 4. When you do, you’ll notice that your trademarks last forever.

Depending on where you live, you may need to speak to a lawyer specializing in trademarks. Otherwise, regular intellectual property lawyers may do.

Create Confidentiality Agreements

A few of your employees are working on a top-secret project. You don’t want them telling others about what they’re working on, now do you? If competitors catch wind of what you’re up to, you may lose your competitive edge. Thankfully, this is where confidentiality agreements come into play.

You can get everyone working on the project to sign an NDA. If anyone leaks information, they’ll legally be liable to you. IP lawyers come into play. They’ll whip up the contract for you.

You could get business partners to sign confidentiality agreements as well. But this is up to you.

Patents

If you created something special, whether it’s a product or a specific component, you can protect it as well. You’ll need to obtain a patent. IP lawyers help once again. However, the procedure to patent a product differs per territory you live in.

When in place, they prevent others from replicating your product for economic gain. Usually patients last for a few decades after your death.

Protecting your intellectual property is very important. Thankfully, doing so is not hard. We discussed 5 easy ways to do this, but depending on where you live, there may be more. So, what do you think?

 

Image Credit: Cyber Security

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