Whether you are the leader of a multinational corporation or preparing to launch a small business startup, safeguarding your intellectual property should be at the top of your business’s priority list. Data is becoming more easily accessible and distributable, thus making it more susceptible to theft and replication. What can you do to secure your IP?
What is Intellectual Property?
First, let us define the term “intellectual property” so that you may comprehend all that it includes. Intellectual Property is defined as any product or process that results from innovative and creative thought.
Many different types of IPs are involved in a business. Other than the product itself, the intellectual property also refers to anything that works to bring this idea to life. Intellectual property can include various types of artwork, marketing content, graphics, websites, articles, blogs, and computer programs. Even the company name and logo and the training material can be identified as IP and anything else personally created to aid the business.
Your company’s valuable ideas and hard work must be kept safe. The good news is there are laws in place that can help keep your IP secure. Below we will establish your intellectual property rights and describe the steps you will need to take in order to protect against IP theft.
Keep Your Business Ideas Secret
Until you have sufficiently protected your intellectual property, avoid talking about it with others and be careful who you trust. Never promote your idea when in public. Your business idea should be treated as a sensitive topic. Unfortunately, there are people out there who only want to benefit their own business and will steal your ideas.
If this is not possible, you can speak to a lawyer and have those closest to you sign a personalized non-disclosure agreement or contract. This includes your current business partners. Be very careful who you allow access to your IP and make sure that nobody can use it without your consent.
The good news is that there are federal and state laws in place to secure your intellectual property. Oftentimes startups will lose their IP rights because they feel the process is complicated and expensive. It is very important that you do not ignore important tasks to guard your inventive designs and ideas.
Types of IP Protection
Until you have officially registered your IP, anyone can take it and use it for themselves. The three most well-known types of IP and those recognized by the federal intellectual property law are as follows:
Patents: Prevents others from selling or marketing another company’s invention.
Trademarks: Prevents others from using your business logos and graphics.
As soon as you finalize your business name and/or logo for your project, register those trademarks immediately. Technology startups sometimes ignore the worth of non-patented intellectual property. These types are also commercially valuable, and a business owner should rigorously protect them as well:
Trade Secrets: A process that is unique to the product or business, such as a method or a secret formula.
Expert Knowledge: If a company obtains exclusive rights over an expert’s knowledge, it too can be considered intellectual property.
A world expert on statistics consults with a financial company to help improve risk analysis software. The financial company can seek exclusive rights over that statistical knowledge so that they alone have access to the information provided and can use it to produce and improve their software.
In conclusion, it is important to know how to protect what is lawfully yours and know who to trust. You probably already have much more IP than you know. Protecting your intellectual property comes with the privilege and responsibility of finding a competent advocate to help you invest in an Intellectual Property Portfolio for your business now so that you can have a rewarding future.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.