IP remains the bloodline of every organization these days. From patents, business secrets to employee know-how, these may be more valuable than the physical assets.
Your new product or business idea needs legal protection. However, for small business owners and entrepreneurs, it can be a confusing issue. You can safeguard your physical assets with an insurance policy, but what about your intangible assets like the company name, logo, content, or creative ideas? Patents and copyrights can be the best way to secure your intellectual property (IP).
You need to consider how best to protect the outcome of your hard work as no one is going to keep a vigil on your behalf. If you do not have a solid grasp of ‘how, why, and when’ to protect your work, then this article is for you. Here’s a quick guide for easy reference.
It is the most reliable protection we recommend. With trademark registration, you will get the legitimacy of your claim. You can deter many from developing a product similar to yours with a patent. Even a provisional patent application will do. Finally, by registering your copyright, you give protection to the expression of an idea.
Reliable documentation, timely renewals, and filing of paperwork are necessary here.
Knowing the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of IP
Provide clarity to your employees regarding what needs to be protected and maintain proper communication in this regard. Create policies and procedures to protect your documents and protect against unauthorized access. Alongside this, you need to ensure that the company sanctioned services are configured and secured.
If you are required to share your IP with business partners and vendors, you need to define ‘security’ and enter into contracts for the same.
Oversee the Marketplace
You will have to monitor your market place as others may not be aware of the law or just do not care. The convenient way to do this is to pay close attention to new products and companies in the same business as yours. You can set up an Internet search alerts for this.
It needs to be a continuous process of investigating products that may appear similar. You should study their patent filings to determine if it infringes on your patent.
Prioritize and Be Proactive
The experts recommend that a cost-benefit analysis and risk profiling is vital here. You can scan your organization’s assets and prepare a priority list. Consider what information will hurt the most when lost and which of the assets stands the maximum chances of being stolen. These two are sufficient to give you a good idea of where you need to put your best efforts into protection.
Defending Your Rights
Whenever you find an infringement, you have to take action. For this, you have the choice of legally informing the party to stop using your work. Take the help of a lawyer for drafting a notice for this purpose. You can also ask for a court injunction to forbid the infringer from producing or selling the product.
If the situation demands, you should not hesitate to file a suit. You must have a strong enough case for this action. An experienced IP attorney will be of good help in defending your rights.
IP remains the bloodline of every organization these days. From patents, business secrets to employee know-how, these may be more valuable than the physical assets. Protecting it is a complex duty by every standard, and you should do all it takes to implement it.