Depending on the type of intellectual property (IP) copyright, trademark or patents may help offer protection. The following 3 steps can help most businesses take the first steps towards protecting their IP.
Step #1: Figure out the right type of protection and register your work
It can help to have a basic understanding of the types of protections that are available. Copyright protections can help businesses protect certain content. This could include any artwork, literary works, sound recordings and videos. In order to realize the full potential of copyright protection, it is important to register the copyright with the United States Copyright Office.
Those looking to protect their brand name or logos should consider trademark protections. These protections are available after registration of the trademark through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Businesses with unique inventions, either machines or other systems, can receive protection through a patent. This also needs registration through the USPTO.
Step #2: Beef up security
No one can steal your IP if they cannot get to it. Make sure computers have up to date software to help protect any IP that may be stored online. In some cases, it is beneficial to hire an IT department to better ensure your business’ online security practices are efficient.
It is also wise to have confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements. These documents can help to better ensure those who work within your organization do not leak or take IP with them to competitors.
Step #3: Litigate
Do not be afraid to take legal action in the event another business or individual does steal your IP. This provides the opportunity to stop the infringing party from continuing to use and benefit from your IP and also holds them accountable for the violation.