Whether you are a freelancer or a creative, or you run your own business in some other way, you need to make sure that you are protecting your intellectual property at all times. There is no other way around it, you just have to make sure that you are doing this if you want to protect yourself and your business.
In this article, we are going to take a look in some detail at some of the major concerns here. The more you know about intellectual property, the better equipped you will be to manage and protect your own:
What Counts As Intellectual Property?
First of all, it might be helpful to discuss what exactly might count as intellectual property. Generally, intellectual property is anything that you create that belongs to you by law, and which you have a need or impulse to protect. In general, it refers to all and any creations of the mind, including literary and artistic creations and names and images, as well as ideas in some cases.
The important thing to bear in mind is that intellectual property is protected by law, so you are always able to defend your own intellectual property as and when necessary.
Types Of Intellectual Property
There are many major types of intellectual property, and it is valuable for us to know about them as fully as possible. These include:
- Copyright. This covers the rights that a creator has over their work. That might include books and music, to paintings and sculptures, and really any kind of art form you might be able to name. In most countries, the moment you write or produce something original, you already have copyright ownership of it.
- Patents. A patent is a much more specific thing – and it only applies to inventions. You take out a patent on a developed idea you have or a design for an invention, so that nobody else can own it or steal it without your permission, nor can they make money from it.
- Trademarks. A trademark is a symbol or a sign that helps to distinguish a specific brand or business. These are especially important for you to consider if you run your own business, and you will probably seek to make extensive use of these.
- Trade Secrets. Even trade secrets are protected internationally under intellectual property law.
As you can see, there are many types of intellectual property to be aware of. But how do you actually go about protecting your own intellectual property?
Protecting Intellectual Property
There are many ways to protect intellectual property, though the method often depends on the nature of the property and what kind of tools you have available. One of the best overall, top-down methods is to launch your startup secretly. In fact, being able to protect your ideas is one of the major benefits of launching in stealth mode, and this is something you should definitely bear in mind early on in your business’ lifespan.
Beyond that, you can protect your intellectual property by ensuring that you remain secretive. This includes getting contractors and freelancers to sign non-disclosure act contracts, and ensuring that you are not letting out trade secrets in places where they should not be mentioned.
You should also make sure to use the full force of the law where possible, as it sets an example to others and makes you much less likely to be a victim of intellectual property theft in the future.
Finally, make sure that you are on top of your data security. These days, not having the most secure possible data protection is like keeping a window to your offices wide open all hours of the day.
The Benefits To Protecting Your Intellectual Property
If you can do all that, you are going to experience many benefits, including the possibility to keep your best ideas safe until such time you are ready to release them to the public, and ensuring that you are allowing your business to grow at the proper rate and in a choosing of your manner.
You will also find that protecting your intellectual property is an important way to protect your business growth, and that it means you can remain competitive in an already competitive marketplace.
As you can see, it is absolutely worth your while to keep on top of these things as best as you can.
Take this knowledge and use it to improve your own intellectual property practices wherever possible. You will find that it makes a huge difference.