The idea for your business may have developed over several years or been a sudden revelation. No matter how you started your company, many pieces set your business apart from your competition.
As you get started, it can be easy to brush off the idea of protecting the intellectual property that makes your company special. However, it is essential to preserve the concepts that support your business.
Here’s what you should know about when you need to start protecting your company’s intellectual property.
Knowing what kind of protection you need
There are many types of intellectual property, and the information that makes your business unique may require more than one type of protection. In general, IP protection falls into the following categories:
- Trademarks. This mark will distinguish your goods and services from those of your competitors.
- Patents. This is for exclusive rights for an invention, giving you the right to decide if and when others can use it.
- Copyrights. This covers artistic and literary works, including music, films, computer programs and books.
- Trade secrets. This protects the processes and practices that support your business.
You may look at your company and realize you need protection in several areas.
Knowing when to start
Often, IP protection can be a race against the clock. In many cases, the person who has earlier records will be the one who can protect their intellectual property, so it is important to seek protection as soon as possible.
If you find yourself needing to prioritize, you may need to consider what carries the highest risk to your profit. You may also want to consider non-disclosure agreements for your employees so that you have protection if one of them decides to work for a competitor.
Getting intellectual property protection can be a long and expensive process. It is essential to talk to a skilled professional so that you can create a strategy for protecting your business’s most valuable assets.