How to Properly Protect Your Intellectual Property


Anytime you create something, you’ll want to protect it in the best way possible. Unfortunately, far too many people lose out on the valuable work they’ve created or thought of, simply because they didn’t take the proper steps to protect it.

Think about it: you wouldn’t start a business, hire employees, and forget to install employee time clocks. You’d protect your time and money by enforcing a clock-in/clock-out system that works for you. Perhaps you’d use an online time tracker—whatever the case, you’re protecting your business against time theft. Similarly, you want to protect your creative works.

If you aren’t sure whether you’re sitting on intellectual property, it helps to understand what intellectual property actually means. Think about intellectual property as anything you’d want to copyright, trademark, or patent. With that in mind, here are some tips on how you can properly protect your intellectual property:

Safeguard Important Property

All of your ideas and finished works should be stored properly, away from everyone else—including employees. “With 81% of breaches being due to compromised credentials, it’s essential to store intellectual property on a system that uses adaptive authentication with risk analysis, or at least two-factor authentication,” Keith, CEO of a security company, Graham told Forbes in an interview.

One of the best ways to safeguard some of your important property is to use a software escrow, assuming this is necessary in your line of work. A software escrow is used to protect your source code when you’re working with a software vendor. This mitigates risk for everyone involved by preventing the code from being stolen or misused. How it works is easy enough: your code is stored in an area that allows it to be downloaded while simultaneously restricting the ability to view or change the full code.

Try to Stay Away From Joint Ownership

Unfortunately, join ownership can cause major issues later down the rode, and if you can avoid it, you should. There are many horror stories of failed partnerships and businesses that fell apart because individuals who were once friends ultimately do not agree on business matters. Business partnerships are just like marriages, and as you may very well know, marriage statistics aren’t very good right now.

There are many pitfalls of joint ownership, however, it can be done if you work with a good lawyer right away. It’s important that you talk legal matters, no matter how much it may feel uncomfortable, or even unnecessary. Don’t believe us? Take a look at these famous partnerships that failed miserably, resulting in lawsuits and scandal along the way.

File Several Types of Non-Disclosure Agreements

There are several types of non-disclosure agreements, and it’s important that you understand which are most relevant to your business and can be beneficial to you. Non-disclosure agreements are necessary because they are written agreements that prove information has been disclosed, and that the recipient has agreed to this. A NDA is a contract. If breached, it becomes much easier for you to take legal action.

You also want to develop these type of agreements among your staff, who are the people working most closely to your intellectual property. For example, a non-compete agreement protects you by forbidding your staff from creating a similar, competing business, or by moving to another business and revealing what they learned working with you. You should also have a basic employee agreement that states that any work that’s created by your staff while employed by you becomes intellectual property owned by you.

Work With An Attorney

Preferably, you’ll work with an attorney who specializes in intellectual property and can help you file all the necessary documents. To help minimize your costs, try working with a lawyer who can complete the work for a fixed fee. Overall, a lawyer who’s proficient with intellectual property can encompass a wide range of legal areas in this field, including patent law, trade secret law, copyright law, trademark law, and more.

Utilize Technology Transfer Agreements

A technology transfer agreement is a contract of an agreement between companies working together. It is the most careful way to transformation information and assets from one person to another, or one team to another. And there are several reasons why you’d want to transform information about technology. For instance, it might be because two businesses are sharing methods of manufacturing and want to assume all results as a team, including risks and benefits.

Don’t Forget International Patents

Just because you file a patent in the United States doesn’t mean you’re safeguarded in other countries where your competitors might arise, too. As previously mentioned, unless you are well-versed with patent filing and strategies, you may want to speak with a professional who can arrange these things for you. For instance,  a thorough understanding of what your key markets of interests are and which jurisdictions have mature patent regimes, and what’s the best filing route to select.