The scale of American intellectual property is around $300 billion per year, according to the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property. Coming up with an idea, and taking it all the way to a product is not easy. The last thing you want is someone stealing the achievement you have worked so hard for.
Whether you have built an app, created a new recipe, or designed a gadget, your new invention is always at risk of being stolen. As an entrepreneur, you need to take steps to protect your intellectual property (IP). Here’s how to protect your ideas and remain one step ahead of your competition.
Register the Appropriate IP Protection
The strongest way to secure your work is by registering it with the relevant authorities. There are several ways to register your IP, and the method you choose depends on your situation. One option is trademark registration where you get the right to use a unique sign to distinguish the product you created.
A patent application is another option, as Incfile explained in a blog post. Here, you are given exclusive rights for your invention, and you have the power to decide how or whether others can use your product. In exchange, you have to make technical information about the invention public. Also, you can register copyright to preserve your right over the work you created.
Keep It a Secret
If you are not ready to register your idea, one of the smartest ways to protect it is by keeping it a secret. In this approach, you need to make significant steps to maintain high-level secrecy about your development process, product formulas, customer lists, survey results, or any other business information.
This method prevents competitors from even getting tiny bits of information that they can use to compete against you. Your idea will remain protected as long as you maintain strict nondisclosure measures. For maximum security, only a small number of people should know the secret.
Monitor Your Marketplace
Regardless of the efforts you make to protect your idea, sometimes, your work still gets stolen. It may be stolen on purpose, or unknowingly when a detailed trademark search fails to bring up your result. To prevent this, it’s your responsibility to look out for signs of possible breaches.
Start by close-checking the words, names, images, and logos of emerging companies in your industry and investigate any invention that has striking similarities to yours. To add an extra layer of security to your trademark, you can hire a trademark search firm to alert you when someone tries to use your name.
Guard Against IP Infringement Online
To risk-proof your idea, you need to take some cybersecurity measures. The rise of the internet has led to the prevalence of cyber attacks. Hackers penetrate computers, emails, and data storage locations to steal, expose, or exploit valuable information. The increasing sophistication of these attacks means no business is safe, and many companies have suffered huge losses due to these data breaches.
To secure your invention and other vital information, store the critical information offline on a separate storage drive. If you have to put it online, utilize a strong password, use the 2-factor authentication technique, and practice good cyber hygiene. Remember also to tighten your security using anti-malware tools and firewalls.
Protecting your intellectual property is a big step towards upholding your brand. Before taking your invention public, it’s best you take the necessary measures to secure it. The above methods will ensure your idea remains yours, and help you have a solid legal case whenever an IP infringement occurs.
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