5 Ways to Protect the Intellectual Property of Your Business
BY: DYLAN MORAN ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 09, 2017
Businesses view copyright in different ways depending on the sector. For some companies, like the ones in the IT field, intellectual property is everything. For others, like a small downtown restaurant, copyright doesn’t seem like a big deal. Even if it’s not obvious, intellectual property should be a matter of great interest to all businesses. Every business has something of value that needs to be copyrighted. The Thai eatery downtown may not be innovating anything, but at least the name of the place should be copyrighted and protected. The core businesses of companies, be it recipes, software, clothing designs, or art, should always be protected under the law.
It’s important to understand that just because a business invents something, it doesn’t automatically become intellectual property of the company. Businesses should apply for copyright of anything. There are three main provisions under intellectual property law: patents, trademarks, and copyright. A company can obtain a patent for a new invention, a trademark for a brand logo, and copyright for a slogan. Here is how your business, no matter how small, can protectintellectual property of the company.
1. Hire Lawyers
The first step towards protecting your company’s intellectual property rights involves hiring the right lawyers. You should hire lawyers that specialize in copyright law, as it is a separate field of law. A local law firm, like Canterbury Law Group, may have lawyers who specialize in this field if you cannot afford to hire an ace copyright lawyer. Legal matters involving copyright can sometimes take years to complete, therefore it’s advisable to keep a lawyer on a retainer. Hire a lawyer you can communicate with easily. Also, it’s recommended to educate yourself on the basics of intellectual property law as well.
2. Patent Everything
If there’s something your business creates or owns that can be patented, go for it. Keep in mind that patents are intellectual property assets. Patents count towards the overall wealth of your business. This is why companies like Google spend millions each year just to protect patents. Patent everything that’s important, not just what’s important to your company’s business. If you think that a technology or a methodology could be of value to some other entity, have it patented.
3. Audit Company Property
It’s strongly recommended to conduct a company-wide audit to find out which copyrights or trademarks are unregistered. If you find any, start the registration process right away. Also, keep a solid inventory of all registered trademarks or copyrights of the company.
4. Add an IP Clause to NDAs
Include a clause or two that protects your company’s intellectual property in all nondisclosure agreements employees, contractors, and other personnel sign. Other documents, such as freelancer agreements, sales contracts, or transfer agreements should have similar provisions too. Make sure your intellectual property is protected at all times on paper.
5. Don’t Wait to File
Filing for a copyright claim or a patent is not something you can sit on. If a claim needs to be filed, do so right away. You don’t want anyone else with similar claims getting there first. Applications that are filed first are usually given priority and precedence in disputed claims.
When you handle intellectual property, don’t forget the international aspects as well. Some patents may require international protection, which you can only do by hiring a lawyer who can search for similar patents in other countries.
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