Many businesses in the United States are in danger from intellectual property theft but many lack the resources to prevent it or to pursue the means to rectify and get compensation after they are the victim of such theft. It has been estimated that about 25% of all internet activity is designed to get infringed content. Intellectual property that should be protected by copyright has been said to account for at least help of American exports and drives 40% of all economic growth. Knowing all that you can about copyright and patent laws is a good first step to protect yourself but more should be done.
Ways to Protect Intellectual Property:
- Keep you ideas private and secret until you absolutely have to. If you have developed a truly new and unique process, product or idea, do not tell everyone you know. Make sure any staff at your company have signed a non-disclosure agreement before they get to hear anything about your new idea. You may trust them completely but you do yourself and them a work of good by having them sign the legal paperwork to protect you both. Also be careful about sending your ideas over insecure channels like email.
- Check with a reputable intellectual property rights lawyer. Before you go through the time and hassle to get a copyright or patent for your idea, seek out advice from a lawyer to see your idea be protected this way. Also ask them about the name for your product. Even your name may be tied to another copyright or patent. A good law firm can check on that to make sure you do not have any problems. Experts in copyright and patent laws can explain any issue that come up in their search on the subject. If you name is going to be part of the name you have for your invention, you should find out as soon as possible if it has been connected to something else.
- Make your name unique. When you come up with the name for your concept or idea, it needs to be very unique but does not have to be totally descriptive. Some inventors think the name they give their idea needs to sum up the idea as well as name it. You name should be synonymous with your brand but needs to be as unique as possible.
- Know what you are trying to protect. Are you trying to get a patent or copyright for your concept? Is it for the way the concept is expressed? You need to know there is a difference between the former and the latter. If you are unsure, talk to an expert in copyright and patent laws. This is the best way to make sure you are not giving away something that is yours.
- Buying something does not mean you own the copyright. If you buy or sell a piece of art, you are not necessarily giving up or buying the copyright to it. If you buy something, you need to have permission to use it for things like an advertising campaign. Buying a photograph or painting, for example, does not automatically mean you have the right to use it in that ad campaign. Only the person or company that owns the copyright to a piece of art can sell or give away the copyright. Never assume anything when it comes to copyright and patent laws.
your rights when it comes to the ideas you have developed, conceived and created is an important part of the lives of many entrepreneurs. Coming up with new ideas is a hard process. It takes a lot of energy, time and work to develop those ideas into great business plans and successful companies. It can be easy to want to confide in the people around you, to both get support and feedback. That is human nature. Keeping exciting news to yourself may not feel right but it is the best thing you can do to protect your intellectual property.
Protecting your intellectual property by seeking out the advice of a copyright and patent laws expert such as those you find at various law firms may seem like overkill but it can make a word of difference for your business.