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Six steps to protect your business’s intellectual property

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2022 | Business Law & Litigation

There’s a lot that goes into building your business and your brand. While you’ll certainly have to invest time and money into securing a location, negotiating contracts and training your staff, there are other aspects of your business that can be just as important. Your intellectual property is among them.

Depending on your specific business, you may develop multiple forms of intellectual property. You might have trademarks that identify your business as the source of goods or services, you could have a copyright over works of art that your business has created and you may possess patents over inventions that you use in business operations or that you sell to consumers.

You could also have trade secrets that you rely on to obtain a competitive edge in the market. Each of these can strengthen your business, build your brand and generate goodwill with your customers.

How to protect your intellectual property

 Although your intellectual property can be powerful for your business’s positioning, it’s only as strong as it’s enforcement. Therefore, if you want to protect your intellectual property and thus your business as fully as possible, you might want to think about taking the following steps:

  1. Keep your work: A lot of people have the misconception that intellectual property protections kick in only after the property has been registered. The truth is that for many forms of intellectual property, you obtain protection when the work is created and is used. However, proving that you were the first to create a work or to generate and use a mark can be tricky without registration, which is why it’s imperative that you keep all of your concept work, ensuring that you put a date on everything.
  2. Registering your intellectual property: Although you don’t have to register a copyright or a trademark to obtain protection, registration puts you in a stronger position if legal disputes arise. It can give a presumption in your favor, and the damages that you can recover for infringement may be larger.
  3. Use non-disclosure agreements: If you have a team of people at your business who assist in creating intellectual property for your business, you might want to consider restricting their ability to disclose what they’re working on and creating. You may be able to do this by creating a non-disclosure agreement that sets the parameters on what they can and can’t say about their work. This can help protect intellectual property and trade secrets from wide disclosure.
  4. Utilizing access credentials: It’s easier to protect your intellectual property and your trade secrets if you can minimize access to them. To do so, you might want to think about implementing credentials, such as separating teams working on a project so that no one team has the complete picture of the project, training staff on security practices and their importance, and regularly updating and changing passwords to access critical information.
  5. Police your intellectual property: Infringement occurs all the time. The only way to stop it is to find it and take action. This requires work on your end, so be prepared to have a plan for spotting infringing actions.

Protecting your business through your intellectual property

Your intellectual property can be priceless when it comes to strengthening your business. As such, you should give it the attention that it deserves. If you’re unsure about how to do that, you might want to reach out to an attorney who knows how to use intellectual property laws to your advantage. Hopefully, you won’t have to worry about these matters and can instead rest easy knowing that your business is as fully protected as possible.