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Intellectual property is a term used to cover creations of the mind such as inventions, designs, symbols, literary and artistic works. Whether it is an invention, idea, or a start-up business, if you have created something unique, you will want to protect your intellectual property. Once your intellectual property is protected, nobody can steal your idea and claim it as their own. If you don’t get it protected, you may have to lose the intellectual property rights. Properties that come under this category may have copyrights, patents, trademarks, or trade secrets. For more clarification, let us discuss a few ways how you can keep your Intellectual Property protected legally.
1. Know about Intellectual Property
Firstly, you should learn about the concept, scope, and nature of the intellectual property. Whether you’re operating as a start-up or an established firm, it is essential to understand what intellectual property is. You can begin with the Office of Copyrights at the Library of Congress and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Both have websites with helpful resources providing complete information about the different ways of protecting intellectual property.
2. Get legal aid
Once you have an in-depth knowledge of intellectual property, it is time to get legal assistance. Talk to a trustworthy legal counsellor having adequate experience in evaluating all aspects of proprietary technology. Most IP law practices deal with matters related to patents, copyright, trademark law, licensing, franchising, distribution, technology transfers, and trade secret projects. You need to ask the attorney for a fixed rate to file for the rights of your intellectual property.
3. Filing for intellectual property
You should not waste any time when you’re filing for intellectual property rights. The sooner you file, the more protected you are from someone trying to patent the same type of idea. There are many intellectual property lawyers in India who are ready to help you in this regard. After informing a lawyer of your decision to protect your intellectual rights, complete a patent application, and wait for about 12 months to have it filed. For some clients, it may even take up to 5 years to complete, so keep that in mind and file quickly.
4. Make sure your ideas are original
Before you file for your intellectual property rights, make sure the idea is 100% unique and not imitated. Many companies are found to invest their time, money, and resources into ideas that aren’t original. Unnecessarily working on unoriginal ideas can cause a huge setback. Moreover, it can also mean your company has missed out on other opportunities by wasting time on a lost cause. To check the originality of your idea, you need to use patent and trademark searches in the earliest stages of your development process.
5. Consider international patents
If you are facing competition from foreign countries, you will need to thoroughly investigate the International patents. For instance, an Indian patent will not necessarily protect your IP from competitors in the US. Likewise, it applies to all member countries and you should investigate registering your patents as well as other IP internationally. It will help to clear up any doubts pertaining to the provenance of your IP and avoid a lot of potential problems.
6. Protect your data from hackers
Intellectual property tends to give a company its unique competitive edge. However, as more and more data is stored digitally, intellectual property is becoming a common target for cyberattacks and theft. It is high time both big and small businesses protect their valuable data from hackers. Nowadays, there is a great range of software tools available to help you track and secure your IP assets. In all possible ways, you should try to identify any areas in your IT systems that seem susceptible to attack. Accordingly, you need to educate your employees on IP cybersecurity and increase your defenses.
7. Create robust contracts and NDA’s
Even though your employees or contractors are trustworthy, you have to take legal measures to keep your IP safe. Draw up robust legal contracts and non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) to make sure your idea includes the right contracts, licenses, and agreements. These documents will clearly state that your company owns all existing intellectual property and anything created in the future. In this way, non-disclosure agreements written up for you will protect your intellectual property rights.
Today, there are certain intellectual property insurance policies also to safeguard your ideas and business model until the patent process is complete. So, you can also buy the insurance and fully protect your intellectual property rights. When everything from company logos to trademarks is under threat, it pays to protect your intellectual property in all possible ways. In the meantime, make sure you take advantage of the potential competition by attending events, conferences, and trade shows to increase your credibility.