You have successfully developed intellectual property that sets you and your company apart in a crowded market. However, if you thought creating unique intellectual property, or IP, was the hard part, you are wrong. Now comes the real challenge: Protecting your IP from a horde of global competitors who are eager to use it for themselves.
There are several techniques that you can use to protect your IP. In this post, we will examine five of the most important.
1. Legally define your IP
The first step is to carefully identify and define your intellectual property in a manner that would hold up in intellectual property court. Meticulously detail the date the intellectual property was created, the team that developed it and the parameters of the IP. This information will be crucial to establishing your ownership.
2. Pay attention to your competitors
It is a mistake to focus solely on your own business, ignoring the actions of your competitors. You must remain vigilant to ensure that another party does not infringe on your IP.
In addition, you should pay attention to the intellectual property of your competitors. This will help you avoid infringing on another party’s IP. It can also give you creative ideas to develop new, better ideas to beat your competitors’.
3. Determine the protection you need
There are several types of legal protection for intellectual property. The most common include:
- Copyrights, which are used for original works like software, books and photographs.
- Trademarks, which distinguish one company’s goods and services from another’s.
- Patents, which can protect inventions.
The protection you need depends on your IP. This brings us to our next recommendation:
4. Consult an intellectual property professional
The field of intellectual property law is incredibly complex. Any individual or company that has IP to protect needs an advocate who understands the law. A skilled professional such as an attorney can help you determine which type of protection you need. The right professional can help you make the best use of your IP and can represent you in court, if necessary.
5. Restrict access to your IP
The more people have access to your intellectual property, the more people there are to intentionally or accidentally leak confidential information. Take care to limit access as much as possible. Grant access to only a few key partners or employees who need the information to fulfill their duties.
Using these five key best practices can go a long way toward protecting your company’s valuable intellectual property. For more ideas and best practices, you may wish to consult a San Francisco-based IP professional.