5 Ways To Safeguard Your IP
Intellectual Property (IP) is the foundation of a strong and burgeoning business. It protects vital business assets that are critical to the success and profitability of the organization. In today’s globally competitive markets, it becomes imperative to protect your core ideas and innovations from infringement. Without a sound IP protection barrier in place, your business is prone to risks that can damage your reputation and cause serious dents in profits.
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Why is IP Important?
Before we learn the ways to defend IP it is important to understand its value to a business. Here is why you should invest in keeping your IP safe:
- It raises the market worth of your business through licensing, sale, or commercialization of protected products or services.
- It converts your ‘ideas’ into commercially profitable products or services.
- In the form of Trademarks, IP helps differentiate your products from competitors and create a brand name.
- By monetizing your IP assets through sales, licensing, or using them as collateral, you can raise finance for your business.
The 5-Step Plan For IP Fortification
- Register your IP
There are four types of IP protections that you can seek to legally defend your IP, namely, Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, and Trade Secrets.
- Patents are granted to unique and novel inventions or processes for a period of up to 20 years. They are categorized as utility patents, design patents, and plant patents.
- Trademarks safeguard the brand names, symbols, or logos that differentiate a brand’s service or product. They last throughout the lifetime of the brand and only need to be renewed every 10 years.
- Copyrights are licensed for the protection of original artistic expressions or works of authorship. The duration of a copyright is through the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years after their passing.
- Trade Secrets are something that are not a part of public knowledge and are economically valuable to the company, so they want to keep them confidential.
Not just registering your IP but being aware of the various forms of protection available, and what each entails is crucial to deciding the best way to protect your IP.
2. Seek Legal Help
From drafting contracts to fighting infringement, the IP landscape involves all kinds of legal scenarios. Having a trusted expert by your side is therefore mandatory to navigate through the legal waters. An important part of IP protection is the drafting of contracts like non-disclosure agreements (NDA), licensing agreements, sales contracts, employment agreements, etc. It is best to rely on professional legal help for fool-proof contracts in all the above matters.
3. Enacting Software Security
Protecting your IP in the virtual world is as important as securing it offline. If sensitive data is stored on your cloud, then it is imperative that you put in reliable software security measures to prevent it from being hacked. Some of these are:
- Granting IP access to trusted employees/partners only. Ensure NDAs have been signed with parties who have access to the information.
- Any data shared online must be in encrypted form to ensure security.
- Adaptive authentication must be available on the systems where the data is stored.
- No copies of the IP must be allowed on individual USBs or devices.
- Using Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) is recommended.
4. Monitoring External/Offline Devices
While software security may be followed diligently, businesses often overlook offline devices such as printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines. IP data can easily be stored in these places and is prone to theft. Therefore, put safety mechanisms in place to ensure the data stored here is destroyed after use. The server farm and archive rooms must always be kept locked and under surveillance. Limited access should be granted to these areas as well.
5. Single Ownership is Best
In joint ownership, all the parties have a right to recreate, distribute, or use the IP in the manner they deem fit. This creates confusion and complications for all stakeholders. So, while collaborations in creating IP can be solicited, it is advisable to keep the ownership single.
Besides the critical 5-step process listed above, other small measures that can go a long way in adding an extra layer of security are:
- Conducting employee training sessions to spread awareness about IP security throughout the organization. This will ensure that employees are mindful of their interactions and prevent any leaks that may occur due to incompetence or mistakes.
- Try to keep separate teams to work on various aspects of the product. This way only a limited number of people will have knowledge of the entire product. This can be a good strategy to keep your IP safe.
- Always maintain a log when innovating, like dated and signed copies of drawings and drafts. This is useful as evidence in case of any litigation in the future.
- For further securing trademark protection, get exact-match domain names. This may take time and require significant expenses but has unparalleled benefits for the future.
The ability of IP to generate profits and add value to your business cannot be ignored. Therefore, having a comprehensive IP strategy in place is essential. As a business that focuses on innovation, one may not have the time or expertise to effectively safeguard the IP. It is best to rely on specialized firms whose sole concentration is in the IP domain. They can guide and counsel you from inception till the time you secure a patent, and further in case of infringements. So, secure your IP today with the professional help of a reputed firm.
We’ve constantly identified the value of new technology carried out by our pretty skilled executive crew with backgrounds as our professionals. Like the IP professionals we empower, our starvation for development is never-ending. We IMPROVISE, ADAPT, and IMPLEMENT in a strategic manner.
TT Consultants offers a range of efficient, high-quality solutions for your intellectual property management ranging from
- Patentability Search
- Invalidation Search
- FTO (Freedom to Operate)
- Patent Portfolio Management
- Patent Monitoring
- Patent Infringement Search
- Patent Drafting & Illustrations
and much more. We provide both law firms and corporations in many industries with turnkey solutions.Contact Us