Intellectual property can take many forms, but no matter whether it’s your brand, a book you’ve written or a product you’ve invented, it needs and deserve protection against trademark or copyright infringement. Being proactive puts you at a distinct advantage over leaving yourself unprotected and then having to work from behind. Here are some important tips on the best steps for protecting your intellectual property.
- Register your work – Depending upon what type of intellectual property you’ve created, there are different documents that need to be filed. All of them make clear to anybody that might be considering copying your work that you have put up walls and plan to defend yourself. Registration might mean a trademark, a patent or a copyright, all of which need to be renewed and maintained in order to remain effective. Don’t forget about foreign registration if you plan on marketing in other countries.
- Keep a low profile – Not all work can be protected through patents. In those cases, you need to avoid broadcasting what you’ve created, no matter how proud of it you may be. It’s a very good idea to use non-disclosure agreements before discussing any details with outsiders, or even with current stakeholders or employees. Be specific about what details must be kept quiet and for how long.
- Keep your eyes open – Unfortunately, there are a number of people who work under the principle of “what they don’t know won’t hurt them,” as well as many who aren’t aware that what they are doing by using your intellectual property is wrong. Neither of those positions is okay, but it’s up to you to spot when somebody is infringing on your property and to take action. Set a reminder on your calendar to occasionally run an internet search for your product or set up a Google alert so that if something similar comes up in the news you’ll be among the first to know.
- Don’t make exceptions – When people try to take advantage, act quickly without discriminating about who you will pursue or not pursue for intellectual property theft. The message will get around pretty quickly that you are the wrong company to mess with if you remain consistent in your approach.
The best way to protect your intellectual property is at the beginning before anybody has the opportunity to even hear about your creation. For assistance, contact our experienced intellectual property attorneys to set up a time for a consultation.