When it comes to protecting your assets, the first items you probably think of are your material possessions, such as your home and land.
These are the tangible goods that you seek to safeguard against theft and other types of infringement.
Yet, did you know there’s another type of protection designed to keep your non-tangible assets safe?
This is called intellectual property protection. It works to ensure things like your ideas, and the creative and technical products that spawn from them, are rightly attributed to you.
Today, we’re taking a look at four things you need to know about this topic. This way, you can preserve these assets as strongly as you would your real estate or other concrete property.
Ready to get started? Let’s dig in!
There are Four Types of Intellectual Property Protection
Depending on the company and circumstance, there may be up to four types of intellectual property protection. These include:
- Copyrights: Protect works of by an original author
- Patents: Protect rights to an invention
- Trademarks: Protects the characteristics that set a brand apart from its peers (symbol, design, catchphrase)
- Trade secrets: Protects exclusive processes that contribute to a brand’s success (recipes, software algorithms, business methods)
1. Registration Is Key
You may think that no one out there will steal your confidential secrets to success. Even so, it’s still important to register them in your name.
Even limited companies or those with a domain name already secured and in place can be at risk of having their intellectual property stolen.
To get started, visit the Patent and Trademark Office. Here, you’ll have access to the resources you need to protect such assets. These include patent applications, as well as trademark and logo registrations.
2. You’ll Have to Re-Register Overseas
Even after you go through the regulatory steps in the United States, your property is only protected here in America.
Yet, you may want to ensure that non-tangible assets, such as your inventor patents, are also secured in other countries overseas.
In this case, you’ll need to apply for a patent in those countries as well. Similar steps are also required when you’re applying for a trademark or copyright in foreign lands.
3. You Can Take Your Case to Court
In the event that you believe your intellectual property was compromised, you can hire signal legal experts to support your case.
When cases are taken to court, there are a few rulings that can occur. For one, an injunction can be ordered against the defendant, meaning he or she must stop the malpractice.
Additionally, the court may order repayment for monetary damages. It may also allow the infringer to enter into a license agreement with the plaintiff.
In a nutshell, under this agreement, both parties work together. The infringer continues using the intellectual property, allocating a certain percentage of payments to the original owner.
4. The Digital Age Carries New Implications
As the Internet of Things continues to grow, businesses and consumers are more connected than ever before. In fact, Gartner estimates that this year we will reach about 8.4 billion “connected things.”
Thus, it’s vitally important that in this era of digital sharing, companies safeguard their creative assets.
What does this mean for intellectual property protection?
It means that you’ll now need to take extra steps and precautions to watch over your content, especially once it’s online. From utility patents to design ones, there are myriad ways to protect your digital assets.
The U.S. Trust defines digital assets as falling into four categories. These include personal, social, financial, and business.
To get started, take a sweep of your company. Then, identify items that fall into these sectors and research steps to keep them yours.
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If so, you’ve come to the right place.
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