For any business, Intellectual Property (IP) is an essential component. It covers your creative work, business inventions, designs, ideas, and discoveries. There was a time in the past when IP wasn’t a big deal. Now that information has become accessible and Internet services like Spectrum Internet deals have made this world a global village, safeguarding your IP is vital.
Now don’t just IP as a way to ensure your ideas don’t get stolen or copied. It ensures that whatever you create can benefit more profiles without violating your rights. So how do you protect IP for your business? Check these out:
Table of Contents
1: File a Patent Application
This one’s for those businesses that run around a single idea or product. Filing a patent application is the foremost thing to do. The thing is if someone gets there before you and registered a patent even if they have copied your idea, you will have to pay them for using or selling the product. In countries like the USA, a patent holder can monopoly for an item for up to 20 years.
2: Get a Trademark
Trademarks are one of the most common ways to protect branding and marketing. You can get it for your business name, product, or service. You are marking it as your own.
USPTO lets you register a trademark. First, you must ensure that a similar trademark or service mark isn’t already registered. Having yours registered. It needs to be renewed every after 10 years though. Technically, you can use trademark ™ the moment your business name, service, goods, or logo is ready. However, in order to file an infringement suit in the federal court, you will need a valid trademark.
Another way to shield your creative idea is to get copyrights. These include literary work, musical, artistic, or architectural work. Copyrights don’t just protect items and facts but also methods of operation. Whether your work is published or not, in the USA, all copyrightable work is automatically protected under the copyright act. However, if you would like to use someone for infringement, registering for copyright is an absolute must.
4: Avoid Joint Ownership
If it’s joint ownership, it grants control of the patent, trademark, and copyright to more than one party. That means every owning party can recreate, copy, wield, or distribute the idea without consulting other owners. This could be risky for a business. Also, the enforcement of a jointly owned IP requires the participation of all owners at all times.
In the USA, all joint owners must be present in copyright or patent hearing for the legal process to proceed. Other than this, profits and benefits are to be shared as well. Nevertheless, joint ownership of IP can be complicated and it can give birth to more problems rather than protecting the IP in the first place.
It’s best to avoid joint ownership and have one part retain the IP ownership even if the idea was a collaborative effort. However, for this, all people involved must have their consent. You might as well have to call a lawyer to create an agreement in writing in order to avoid complications in the future.
5: Safeguard It and Limit the Access
Store your creations, manuscripts, and all other ideas in a safe place. Make sure it’s protected by an identity management system. Breaches often happen because of compromised credentials. Therefore, have a safe system in place from the very beginning.
Having a password alone is not enough. Go for multi-factor authentication to ensure your ideas are safe. Also, limit the access. Only your most trusted personnel should have access to these manuscripts. For additional security, make them sign a non-disclosure agreement.
6: Have Agreements
Sign agreements with your consultants and vendors. Just because you are paying them, doesn’t mean you own the IP automatically. If there is computer software or any other idea exclusive to your business and you are paying your consultants and vendors to use that, transfer the ownership rights to you. This can be done by sitting with them, having a discussion, and creating a contract. It will ensure all parties are on the same page. If you don’t lock it down in an agreement, your stakeholders could sell the idea to some other business as well.
Start Protecting Your IP ASAP
What are you waiting for? Ideas are traveling just like the news. You would be here thinking about getting Intellectual Property and someone out there has already secured your business idea.
Determine whether you want to trademark, copyright, or patent suiting your business needs. Learn everything you need to about the application process. If you must, don’t hesitate in hiring the services of an attorney. They can assist you with legal matters just like the Charter Spectrum support team is offering assistance to their customers.