Protecting your company's intellectual property is important. These assets are part of your company's identity. There are several points that all business owners should know about protecting these vital assets.
One factor that is universal for all types is that confidentiality agreements can provide the basis for safeguarding your company's intellectual property. Having contractors and employees sign these documents details what is prohibited and what will happen if the agreement is violated.
There are several categories of intellectual property. Each one can be protected using a specific method. Understanding these might make your quest for protection a bit easier.
Some works can be copyrighted. These include written materials, such as blog posts and literature written by a person in your business or by a person you hired to do the job. Music, jingles and similar works can also be copyrighted.
Trade secrets are closely held techniques that are important to your business. Client lists, formulas, and other similar information fall under this category. Protecting these is usually best done with written contracts between people with access to them.
Trademarks, trade names and service marks are the identifiable points of your business. These are the items that the general public recognizes as part of your business. Registering these can help to prevent theft or someone closely copying their elements.
Computer software is another important part of many companies. Specialized or custom software should be covered by licensing agreements that clearly outline the intended and suitable uses. Even if your company created the program, it is a good idea to have a license developed to prevent unauthorized usage.
When anyone misuses your company's intellectual property, legal action might follow. This can help to minimize the damage from the misuse and might enable you to seek compensation for any harm that was done.