Intellectual property (IP), also known as intellectual capital, can be defined as a creation of the mind capable of physical embodiment in any form of media. Be it a thought, an idea, or an invention, every piece of IP is unique and subject to protection. So what are some ways that you can help make sure that your intellectual property stays protected?
IP And The Law
So, what is intellectual property law? Intellectual property law deals with the legal protection of intellectual property within a particular jurisdiction and usually seeks to excessively limit access to or misuse of intellectual property. There are several ways you can protect your IP from companies that want to capitalize on your work.
Start with creating good documentation for your product. Begin with high-quality photos and illustrations to give your company’s images a professional look. It’s not enough to simply rely on specs alone – having clear instructions and examples make it much easier for people to understand how the product works without ever having met anyone from the company.
2) Apply For Patents
It goes without saying that you need to have patents for your products if you want to be able to make a profit from them. Patents are usually recommended for any product that is highly complex and not easily replaced by something else within the market. Usually, when you use a patent attorney, a patent will cost $5,000-$50,000 depending on how complicated it is and where you file it. However, keep in mind that, depending on how complete your patent application is, you may not get anything if someone files a suit against you and it turns out that you’ve infringed on the patent.
3) Consider Trademarks
Many people think that trademarks are useless. However, this could not be further from the truth. A trademark can actually be more valuable than a patent because it normally lasts much longer – up to 15 years in most cases – and can be used against anyone who uses the same or a similar quality of product that you do.
4) Hire An Attorney
If you’re thinking about filing for patents, trademarks, or both for your products, then think about hiring an attorney to help with your applications. Not only is it important to have good documentation for your product, but having good legal documents will help you to protect yourself against anyone who does anything that could infringe on your rights in the future.
5) Promote Your Copyright Status
When you create a new invention, don’t let anyone copy it! There should be a copyright symbol on each document that you have created concerning intellectual property. You can also register your invention with the patent office, or trademark office. This will prevent anyone else from copying any part of it without your permission.
6) Don’t Wait To Protect Your IP
Don’t think that just because one of your products doesn’t work right now that someone else will not try to steal the ideas and concepts behind it. Even if you have a patent for your invention, you need to be prepared for others to copy it. When someone does copy your ideas and patents, it can cost you a lot of money that can easily cripple the company if it’s not used quickly.
Even if you didn’t get the patent for the product, you still own the copyright. This means that you can sell the invention to someone else and they will not be able to take it away from you. If it’s easier for your company to sell the idea and let someone else handle all of the development, then this is a great solution.
7) Keep Quiet About Your Invention
No matter how much money your invention makes, no one should ever know about it until you’re ready to disclose what it is or how much money you made from it. Intellectual property can make or break your company, so you must make sure that everything is kept as quiet as possible until you’re ready to disclose it.
8) Be Selective With IP
While you may be able to claim intellectual property rights on any product that you create, it’s not always the best idea – especially if the product requires a lot of money to develop. Some products are just better left alone because other companies may be better suited to handle the work involved in creating them.
9) Monitor Competitors
You should always keep an eye out for what other companies are doing with their products because they could be infringing on your intellectual property at any time. It’s a good idea to investigate possible infringements as soon as you hear about them and make sure that you take the appropriate steps to prevent them from continuing.
10) Monitor New Product Developments
To keep up with what’s going on in your field and make sure that you don’t miss any infringements, you should always stay up-to-date on new technology. This is something that all companies should strive for, but it is especially important if your company has products that are related to intellectual property.
Getting patents for or filing for trademarks can help you reduce the risk of someone else infringing on your rights in the future, but be warned – filing for patents doesn’t guarantee that someone won’t copy what you’ve created. The main point of patents is to give you a head start on innovators who are trying to develop their own versions.
The more complete your patent applications, the better your chances of creating something that someone can’t copy easily. If you have good documentation, it will be easier for you to prove infringement and win a suit against anyone who copies what you’ve created.
Not all intellectual property is created equal – some things are worth more than others in terms of potential revenue and value to the public. You should focus on the products that can bring in the most money but don’t forget that having a great reputation alone can go a long way toward protecting your company’s future.
To be successful, the product that you create must be something that is both original and innovative. Patents and trademarks can often serve as proof of both but don’t forget that reputation and experience are also important because these are going to help people buy from you in the future.
Intellectual property is one of the best ways to protect your company’s future and make money to pay for bills, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. You’ll have to work hard to ensure that you don’t copy someone else’s ideas and products without their permission and that you research any product that is potentially infringing on your rights. If you do infringe on someone else’s rights, there are plenty of ways for them to take your company down with a legal battle.
Intellectual Property Rights are complex, but understanding them will help you focus on what really matters: making enough money for the company to continue making improvements and technology for the public.