Intellectual Property Law - Six Ways To Protect Your Intellectual Property

An idea might be a dime a dozen, but the right property protected idea can be worth millions to you and your business. Ideas are the core of many new businesses. When you get new ideas, you might be excited to share those ideas with others. Reconsider that thought. Share your ideas too soon, and you may find them under the arm of a competitor.

Why should you be concerned about intellectual property rights? Intellectual property law exists to protect your rights to your inventions and innovations. This doesn't revolve just around your designs or plans. Marketing surveys, research data, even your client lists are valuable items. You need to not only understand what is valuable but also how to protect your assets.

Information security has become even more complicated with the increase of use of the Internet and email in business, though you can take action and help secure your business. Here are six tips on how to protect your intellectual property (IP).

1. Exercise patience before sharing information.

How much do other people really need to know? Early on in the developmental stage of your idea, maybe only a few people really need any information to get things working. Pace yourself, don't let go of your ideas early on.

Assess who needs to see what information, and how much information they actually need to do their job. Withhold any IP that might be unnecessary. You can even break up your databases so that no one has access to all the information at one time. Restrict the exchange of information via email of critical information within the company, to prevent loss of data, either by design or accident.

2. Get a legal team on your side.

Getting an intellectual property lawyer in your corner is a very important step. IP lawyers can make suggestions to further increase your security. They can help you to take the necessary steps to get patents early and keep track of the valuable assets in your company. This ensures your valuable assets are evaluated correctly, and appropriate value is placed.

Don't wait until your property has been taken before you contact someone. You would save valuable time and money having a lawyer on your side before a breach in security happens. Ask for an evaluation of your current situation, including all of your marketing research and contact lists. Don't forget to ask about what else can be protected.

3. Get to know intellectual property law.

Understanding your rights to your intellectual property, and the laws, can be helpful toward protecting your rights. Ask questions. Request to be kept up to date on information you might need to know from your legal advisors.

You don't have to get a law degree. Do, however, keep up to date on IP infringements and how you can avoid being a victim. Understanding what is valuable and what needs protecting, like getting an evaluation from an IP lawyer, can help.

4. Make use of nondisclosure/noncircumvention agreements.

For those who are involved in the process of developing and applying your ideas, make sure you get binding nondisclosure and noncircumvention agreements, or NDAs. It doesn't always protect your information, but it does ensure that the people you work with clearly understand that the information you are providing them is confidential. Such a contract will also hold more ground in court. Create clear stipulations on who can see your information and what can be done with it.

Make sure your NDA covers all your valuable IP. Ensure employees or anyone coming into close contact with all or parts of your information sign the NDA. Keep contracts on file and assure all contracts are accounted for before sharing information. Further (and arguable more important) is the clear definition that all intellectual property developed by the employee on the job belongs to the employer.

5. File for proper patents early on.