The world is driven by change and innovation. This is the reason individuals and businesses are trying hard to come up with new business models, effective strategies, and inventions that can help streamline internal processes and aid business growth. If something good is created by someone, others try and copy the same. However, this is like taking the rewards of someone who has invested a lot of effort and time in coming up with an invention without his consent.
This is where intellectual property (IP) rights come in. It is the area of law that revolves around the protection of the original works of individuals and organizations and their rights. This protection is solely aimed at encouraging individuals to develop new technologies and innovations that can benefit society as a whole.
Avoiding Intellectual Property Violations
It can cost businesses a lot owing to their violation of IP rights. This makes it imperative for businesses to make sure that they are not using protected content in a way that violates the law. The best way to ensure that a particular design, logo, or product or brand name is not already registered is by cross-checking with the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As far as safeguarding your IP rights is concerned, the following strategies are surely going to help you with the same.
Strategies to Safeguard Your IP from Infringement
There is no denying that copyrights and patents offer security up to a certain level, but there are various other strategies that can help you foolproof your individual creation:-
1. Limit the Exposure Level
If we look at the backbone of any infringement, it always starts with a liking for a specific new technical innovation, product design, logo, and more. If businesses and individuals can limit the level of exposure of their inventions, it will keep the ones likely to copy the same at bay.
Yes, Digital Rights Management systems and traditional methods do safeguard your IP, but such unconventional strategies can work wonders for you.
2. Ensure Registering the Specific IP Protection
In order to safeguard your invention to the maximum level, it is imperative to choose the right protection for registration:-
- Copyright Registration
This type of protection not only ensures your right to sue infringers but collect the fees of the attorneys and the cost of damages as well.
- Application for a Patent or Provisional Patent
This type of protection allows you to have the right to make use of the patent-pending designation. This, in turn, discourages people from coming up with an innovative product which won’t be in use for them for a long time.
- Trademark Registration
You must have seen the R symbol on various logos. It is an example of a trademark registration that allows you to use the same, along with letting people know of your legal rights at the same time.
Apart from this, registering within one year of a marketing campaign and renewing trademark timely are extremely essential.
3. Consider Foreign Registration
You never know how your business scales in the coming times, and if it does, you would need a strong marketing campaign to flourish in foreign countries, along with registering your IP. Although, most of the countries accept the U.S. registration, but the following things should be kept in mind while expanding to other countries and research should be done with respect to the registration process of a specific country:-
- Most of the countries will require you to file for patent protection with respect to the 1-year time period of your invention disclosure.
- It is mandatory in some countries to file for patent protection before going all out in public with your new product.
- Some nations require you to include with your trademark more than a mere or R symbol.
4. Opt for a Contract of Ownership
In most start-up companies, it is often seen that business owners rely a lot on independent contractors to help them grow and scale their business. The mistake which one should avoid at this point in time is avoiding having any contracts in place for the same.
It is imperative that a standard contract is formed to safeguard your IP, wherein a particular person who owns the right to work is clearly stated, eliminating the need to pay an additional fee for complete rights in the future.
5. Focus on Publishing it Widely with Attribution
Patent filing clearly means that you were the first to file your patent and is also considered to be one of the best ways to ensure the secrecy of your non-trade IP. However, another effective method of achieving the same is to publish it wherever possible with a reference so that anywhere your invention gets mentioned, your company’s name is attributed to it.
6. Tight Security Controls
One of the most common ways of losing your trade secrecy to someone is by having poor security controls in place. Things like cyberattacks and system hacks often pave the way for a data breach and access to sensitive information. So, make sure you prepare yourself against such challenges by installing tight security controls in your computer systems such as intrusion detection system, security monitor, defensive firewall, and more.
7. Leverage Intellectual Property Tools
There are multiple tools that are available in the market for tracking IP stores and documents, with loss prevention (DLP) tools being the primary ones. They have this amazing quality to not only locate documents that are sensitive but also track which document is being used by whom and most importantly, how?
Apart from this, IP encryption also brings down the loss risk at large. As per the Egress survey, data clearly shows that only 36% of businesses need encryption when sharing sensitive data internally, and only 21% require it when sharing externally.
8. Have a Counter-Intelligence Mindset
Just get in the shoes of a hacker or sensitive information thief. Try and think of the ways these guys might use in order to achieve success in knowing your trade secrets. When you have such a mindset, you will be able to add an extra layer of protection to your IP in the form of assembling the internal council to agree to the publications of your R&D scientists, getting rid of recycling bins’ papers, protecting your phone lists, and more.
Some Additional Precautions
- Create Original ad Music or Images
When looking to launch an ad campaign, make sure original work is performed by freelancers and in-house staff for music, images, and more. In the case of freelancers, ensure having a proper contract in place.
- Leverage Royalty-Free Media
Royalty-free things online have proved to a blessing for people as it offers great flexibility in terms of IP. However, it is recommended to give credit to the original creator.
- Obtain the Appropriate Copyright Holders’ Licenses
If you want to use a material that is registered, make sure you obtain the licenses and written permissions from the copyright holders in order to avoid any conflict in the future.
This brings us to the conclusion that although patent protection, licenses, and copyrights form the primary forms of protecting your intellectual property, there are different strategies as well that are equally effective.
Based on the specific protection needs of your intellectual property, you may opt for one or all the above-mentioned strategies to form complete security against any kind of infringement.
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