Ask entrepreneurs about the valuable assets of their business and most of them will begin by listing tangible items like liquid cash, product inventory, machinery, etc. Chances are unless the person is a software business owner, she will not start mentioning intangibles as assets until the very end of the list. Even people who understand the importance of intellectual property will not be aware of all such items in their possession. Here we are discussing some helpful tips to protect your intellectual property assets. These suggestions will help business owners in identifying all valuable items and how they can safeguard them from infringement.
1. Identify All Intellectual Property Elements In Your Possession
Businesses must begin by identifying all the IP assets that they possess. A unique product or a concept that is behind a service being offered by the enterprise needs to be secured legally. Apart from this, there are branding elements like logos and marketing slogans that are also valuable. With the passage of time, these items become identifiers for products or organizations. This leaves them open to the threat of unauthorized use where an unethical entity will try to cash in on their popularity. Make a list of anything that can be categorized as intellectual property. Do not leave even product manuals and guides out of this list.
2. Use Non-disclosure Agreements As A Protective Measure
It is impossible to run a business in isolation. Enterprises have to collaborate with a number of parties like vendors, consultants, other companies, etc. This can involve sharing a unique idea or product with another entity. In order to safeguard the asset, it is essential to implement some protective measures. Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs) are an effective tool to bar the other side from disclosing the information about the item to any unauthorized person or organization. The document defines the scope and nature of the agreement. It includes the time period for which the agreement will be valid and the penalties that will be imposed on the party that violates its terms.
3. Know About All The Relevant Laws In Your Jurisdiction
There are various laws that have been framed to protect different kinds of IP assets. Patents are used to secure the ownership rights of inventions and unique products. Trademarks provide safeguards for branding tools like logos and slogans. The copyright law is usually employed for protecting artistic creations like literary works, paintings, songs, etc. However, this law can be used to shield computer programs and documents like product manuals. These regulations can vary from one location to another. It will be pertinent to consult a local expert. For instance, if you are based in India, then hire local intellectual property lawyers to understand the relevant laws.
4. Implement Protective Measures As Quickly As Possible
The more you delay in acquiring legal protection the greater the chances of infringement. You must move rapidly to protect your intellectual property assets. As soon as your product is ready, file a patent application with the relevant authorities. Some business owners wait until the item starts generating good returns. This is an incorrect approach and must be avoided at all costs. Once the product is out in the market without any legal shield and it gets copied, you cannot take any remedial measures against the transgression.
5. Create A Secure Physical And Digital Storage Infrastructure
It is important to create a secure storage infrastructure to prevent physical theft of assets. All the vital data is stored in digital systems that are accessed by multiple users. Organizations must use systems with strong access control that prevent the information from being exposed to unauthorized users. Apart from this, a strong physical storage mechanism must be built to limit access to sensitive data.
6. Hire A Legal Advisor To Formulate An IP Protection Policy
All business organizations that possess valuable intangible assets must have a clearly-defined IP protection policy. They must hire a legal advisor who specializes in the relevant practice area. All jurisdictions with a vibrant business environment now have specialist intellectual property lawyers. Choose an experienced professional to get accurate advice. The attorney will also be helpful in drafting non-disclosure agreements.
A failure to protect your intellectual property assets can cause irreparable damage to your business. All enterprises must implement the necessary measures to shield their assets from infringement and secure their rights over the elements.
Amy Jones is a professional legal expert working with Ahlawat & Associates-one of the best law firms in India, with a long background of taking up several types of cases, she is able to provide the right legal consultation to their clients professionally and help them to solve their complicated legal problems.