Intellectual property is a core component of many businesses, particularly if you’re a startup launching innovation. Intellectual property can include many things such designs, renderings, trademarks, patents, copyrights and more. Protecting intellectual property is incredibly important for many businesses, and putting stringent security in place will help ensure you maintain your competitive advantage.
Below are six important tips that can help you better secure your intellectual property, and ultimately your business.
Do a Thorough Check to Make Sure Your Ideas Really Are Original
You may think you have unique intellectual property that’s essential to your business, but that might not be the case. Before you start guarding things as your own trade secrets, designs or original property, do a thorough search for things like patents and trademarks.
Keep Records of Idea Development
A good way to protect yourself against future issues regarding your intellectual property is to keep very detailed records of idea development over time. This will show the work you put into the development of your ideas. When you’re putting these records together, include as many details as possible, as well as dates any entries are made.
Train Your Employees and Team
Your employees can be your first line of defense in the protection of intellectual property, but unfortunately, they can also be one of biggest weaknesses. To safeguard against slip-ups on the part of your employees or team, make sure you thoroughly train them on everything pertaining to IP, including how it’s protected, what copyrights, patents or trademarks may exist, and what their role is in keeping this information protected.
Create Custom NDAs
Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can go a long way in protecting you against the theft of your intellectual property, but a couple of issues can arise here. The first may be that you don’t have all relevant parties sign the NDA. It applies not only to your employees, but also your freelancers and contractors, vendors, clients and really anyone who has access to any type of original intellectual property from your business. The second mistake companies often make is not having them customized or professionally drafted. Take the time to have a lawyer or professional draft an NDA that offers ample protection for your IP.
Explore International Patent Options
One of the primary ways people may protect their IP is through the use of patents, but remember, if you don’t patent your ideas in other countries around the world they can be stolen by a company in China, for example.
Properly Store All Intellectual Property
Aside from safeguards like patents, much of how you’re going to be able to best protect your IP relies on how you send and store documents that contain important ideas and information. Consider the use of a virtual data room or a similar storage option that will restrict access to relevant documents and will help you avoid have to send intellectual property and critical documents by email or other relatively insecure methods.
Remaining Competitive with Proper Planning
If your intellectual property is an essential component of your business, it’s vital that you take the necessary steps to protect it. These include not only legal measures such as trademarks, but it’s also imperative to remain vigilant with your employees, vendors, and other contacts, as well as your cyber security.