Having your invention coming to the world’s light is an exciting thing. You will want the whole world to know what you have achieved and possibly receive credit for the same. However, before you get lost in the excitement, you need to consider how you can protect your hard work from fraudsters and anybody who might want to take advantage of your invention or creation. While patents and copyrights are inarguably the best tools to have in your arsenal, you can’t solely depend on them. On this note, here are some things you can do to protect your intellectual property.
1. Get Legal Counsel
Different types of intellectual property may face different types of threats. Copyright can help protect your work from being reproduced without your consent. On the other hand, a patent helps safeguard your invention from people who may want to claim credit or benefit from it financially. Trademarks protect brands, yet according to Revision Legal, online ventures may need their own specific approach. This makes it helpful to consult legal experts that understand your needs regarding protecting intellectual property.
2. Separate Teams
Sometimes, you will have several people working on your idea during its developmental stages, testing, and so forth. When you have a team with access to your concept as a whole, there is a high likelihood that it could be leaked or copied. To make sure it is protected, you need to divide your team into sub-teams and get them working separately on different pieces. Preferably, let them be in different geographic locations, preferably anonymous to the other. That way, it will be hard for them to come together, join the pieces, and recreate your idea to completion.
3. Use Exact-Match Domain Names
One of the best ways to protect your interests is by having your business or product domain name matched with your IP. One of the benefits of exact-match domains is that the name will be protected such that no one coming up with a similar idea as yours gets to use a name similar to yours. This helps avoid confusion. This can be costly if whatever you are protecting is temporary. However, if the idea will be in use for quite some time, the benefits offered by this option are unrivaled.
4. Have Non-Disclosure Contracts for Employees and Partners
Sometimes, you can’t put ideas into use until you have integrated their specific skills into it. This means you will have to make them part of the idea. When this is the only option you have, non-disclosure contracts are useful in protecting your ideas and any information in your business you wish to keep confidential. For example, video game developers will have their employees signing confidentiality agreements to ensure the protection of their IP. These contracts make them legally liable for any leaks which can be very costly.
5. Keep Away from Joint Ownerships
It is possible to have an idea or intellectual property created by more than one party. In that case, both parties have ownership rights over such property. They may copy, recreate, or even distribute the property without the consent of the other involved parties. This means that there is a risk to be exploited by the other and there is nothing you can do about it. To be on the safe side, it is good that you keep off joint ownerships or if there is a need to have the other party on-board, let the ownership rights be entitled to one person.
6. Make Use of Strong Access Controls
Most intellectual property will have a manuscript or a guide that shows how it came to be. You don’t store this somewhere in your office or on any random folder on your computer. You need to have something safer that will require identity verification before anyone can access them. Don’t make use of passwords as they are very obsolete especially when used alone. Make use of modern systems that make use of adaptive authentication or the very least a two-factor authentication. The stronger the access control the safer your intellectual property will be.
7. Keep It Out of Sight
Patenting and the use of copyright are classic ways of making sure your intellectual property is protected. The use of digital rights management and making random visits to court are ways to make sure your IPs are well protected. However, one way that will save all that trouble is keeping things quiet and out of sight as much as possible. Limiting exposure ensures that your creation remains hidden and out of prying eyes until you have something that the world will recognize as yours and yours alone. If you can work on an idea alone and make it work, then do so. Involving people is far much a risk that will require other security measures.
Intellectual property is one of the most valuable possessions one can have. This means you need to protect it as much as you can. The tips in this piece should come in handy on that bit.