When Do You Need to Think About Protecting Your Company's Intellectual Property?
Your intellectual property is one of the most important aspects of your business since in a way, it makes up what your company is all about. Modern thieves don’t break windows and take physical computers, they steal your intellectual property through the internet from miles away. In order to protect your company, you need to protect your intellectual property but how do you know when to take that protection to the next level?
Rolling Out New Products
You need to incorporate a good marketing campaign into the roll-out of any new product. A fresh product brings more attention to your company and can revive a loyal customer base. Although you want most product attention to be positive, negative reviews are bound to crop up as well. Some companies will wait for a failed or negatively reviewed product they can steal and sell or reproduce in a better light, and you may have some of these people in your industry, believe it or not. Look at the industry market and what products are doing well, and make sure all new products are properly copyrighted or legally protected.
Initiating a Legal Process
If your business is looking to register a patent or initiate a trademark with the government, the records of your intellectual property will become public. At this time, you should be taking great effort to protect your company from malicious hackers and competitors in your industry. Even if you have yet to bring your product to the public, putting it on public record is enough for people to see it and want to use it. Corporate law firms like Carter West specialize in helping businesses stay current in their legal processes and if you find doing the paper work yourself is confusing, you might find the cost of hiring an expert pays for itself.
Whether you have a physical product, a process, software or idea, you have to be careful when trying to get investments. The so-called "angel investor" can quickly become a devil if you walk into an office with intellectual property that isn’t protected from a legal standpoint and from a physical standpoint. Large investors could have conflicts of interest with other companies they might have done business with before. You never know whose allegiance is with whom, so be sure you legally protect your intellectual property as much as possible before looking for any investment in it.
Before you give your new invention to anyone to debug or test, make sure it is fully protected since this is a part of the step where many software problems get stolen. When you put your intellectual property into the hands of people who may be able to reverse engineer it, you put yourself at risk of having your products brought to market before you can work out all of the bugs.
As a company you should be doing all you can to get good protection for your products, physical and ideas. Talk to experienced legal professionals who can help you maneuver through your market and remember to check with all government processes before you take it to the next level.
Image Courtesy of Business News Daily