Intellectual property is one of the major assets a company could own. Even a small mom-and-pop shop can own valuable IP in the form of trademarks and copyrights. Intellectual property can value in millions, regardless of the success of a company. Giant corporations, like Alphabet (Google) and Apple, spend millions of dollars solely protecting patents and trademarks. There’s great wisdom behind this. A company could lose a fortune, and future business, if another party contests a patent or a copyright in court. So, all businesses must be invested in protecting intellectual property. Here are several tips on how to go about doing that:
Find Out What IP Your Company Owns
Some companies may not really be aware of all the intellectual property the company can claim. Keep in mind that something is only your intellectual property if you make a claim for it and win approval from the government. Even if you built something from scratch, and you don’t copyright your innovation, someone else could swoop in and claim a patent. Therefore, find out what type of IP your company is eligible to register. It’s recommended to hire a consultant firm, like Global Resources, to run an audit of intellectual property of your company. You may be able to find some unregistered ones.
Hire an Ace Attorney
Protecting intellectual property means spending a lot of money on lawyers. You don’t have to hire the best of the best if your business is unable to. However, you will need to hire a competent lawyer who specializes in copyright law. This specialization is very important. A regular business lawyer will not do. The attorney must be highly knowledgeable about both domestic and international copyright law. Experience is also a key factor.
Register without Delay
Don’t hesitate to file a copyright claim or register a patent. The sooner you do it, the better. Don’t give anyone else a chance to make a claim before you do. Timing can play a crucial role if copyright is disputed. Usually, the government and courts favor the party that makes the copyright claim first. If you make your claim later, the burden of proof will be on you. Therefore, don’t wait till the last moment to file an application.
If a Patent is Possible, Apply
You should patent something if it’s possible to patent it. Even if what you are patenting isn’t actually important to your business, file the patent claim anyway. Patents that are important to other businesses could be of use to you someday too. As mentioned above, intellectual property is an asset. Owning a patent today means your company’s value goes up. The more patents you have, the more valuable your business will be even if profits are tanking.
Mind International Laws
There are some disputes that can arise based on domestic and international copyright laws. You may win an approval for a trademark domestically, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to international recognition. So, when filing applications, it’s recommended to do so both internationally and domestically.
Use the above tips to protect your company’s intellectual property without delay.