15 Mar Stop Infringers from Stealing Intellectual Property
Intellectual property infringers are a very real threat to anyone with proprietary ideas and programs. While they cannot always be stopped, businesses can protect themselves and pursue legal restitution, as long as they possess a robust intellectual property (IP) portfolio. Lucky for entrepreneurs, there are several best practices available to protect their valuable IP.
Common First Steps
A first step in protecting IP is to pursue a trademark, patent or copyright. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to choose which is the most appropriate for the situation. Simply put, trademarks protect aspects of a brand; patents cover machines, processes and formulas; and copyrights guard intellectual works, such as stories, songs and paintings. Each covers its own subset of IP.
Secondary Levels of Protection
Nondisclosure agreements are necessary for all employee contracts and third party partnerships, as these relationships can lead to IP theft. Nondisclosure agreements enable a company to freely share its ideas without compromising the safety of sensitive information. Should information leak and the source is identified, the business can pursue immediate legal action to rectify the situation, recover any losses and control the damage. Additionally, keep a detailed record of who attended each meeting and the topics discussed. This provides a portfolio of evidence to defend any IP theft attempts.
Importance of Security
There is a significant amount of risk inherent in launching a new venture, but the IP at the core of the business holds everything together. By ensuring a business idea is safe, the entrepreneur is able to work hard and reap the rewards of their efforts. They will not be plagued by the notion that a larger company with an abundance of resources will borrow their idea and put an end to the business.
For many startups, IP is their only asset and the singular element the entire business model upon which it is built. The risk of competitors is significant, should they attempt to steal the idea. To protect the long-term health of a business, entrepreneurs should take the necessary steps to safeguard their proprietary ideas and technology. Working with a qualified business attorney can provide a business owner with the valuable guidance and support needed to eliminate their IP vulnerabilities.