How to protect your Intellectual Property?
Copyright infringement is an ever-present problem for novice entrepreneurs. Nowadays, it is easy for scheming individuals to pass off your work as their own, making a few simple changes. This is precisely the reason to learn more about protecting your ideas, your business or brand. You can follow these few basic rules as a start-up strategy for protecting your intellectual property.
1. The most important thing to do is to educate yourself concerning IP. Make time to learn about the basics of trademark, copyrights, patents and trade secrets. It will save you later grievances.
2. First thing you need to do is to register your IP. This may sound like a given, but the number of companies that do not register their name, logo, design is still astounding. Also, patent your ideas if they are unique. If you come up with an App, software process or design, protect it and make sure others can’t copy it or try to register something similar. And, don’t forget – this is a long process, so file your applications in time!
3. Even after you have registered and patented your idea or trademark, it is important to keep the evidence. Make sure to keep notes showing your creative process – how it evolved and developed until the final stage (keep a diary, draw, sketch, etc). These notes will be strong evidence in case there ever comes a time you need the prove the originality of your work.
4. If you are using outsourced help (designers, developers, editors, etc) make sure they sign a contractor agreement with a confidentiality clause. Also, it might be a good idea to include a warranty that their design is original and not infringing third party copyrights. Never take somebody’s word for it, when it comes to IP!
5. In the end, take time to think about the future of your company. Devise your patent strategy in time, and make a list of the work which needs to be legally protected. From that moment on, your IP applications should flow.