Protecting your assets is a given in business. No one wants any of their hard work stolen, exploited, and taken away from them without permission. As a result, companies big and small alike go to great lengths to ensure the safety of their buildings, equipment, and supplies. And the same concept applies to startups. The last thing you’ll want is for mischief to arise and prevent you from starting on the right foot.
However, in our digital age, a large chunk of our assets is no longer tangible, and the vast majority exist in the digital landscape. On that note, today, we’ll be teaching you how to protect your startup’s intellectual property.
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property is an umbrella term for all the creative work born out of the human mind. Ranging from innovations to inventions, it refers to any product of human intellect. For example, we have books, music, paintings, and patented tech blueprints, to name a few.
And, depending on the nature of your business, you can expect to encounter at least one form of intellectual property or maybe even have your entire business revolve around it, such as graphic design.
Why Is It Important?
You could argue that tangible assets hold more liquid value than intellectual property, but that doesn’t make them less important. There are instances where they are more significant to the extent that the entire business framework depends on them.
Look at it this way; nobody likes a copycat, and if a rival company took your idea, expounded upon it, and called it theirs, that wouldn’t sit right. What’s worse, if they steal your potential market share, that severely hampers your profitability and might even bankrupt your startup.
Respects Your Work. While people like to think that the business landscape can be ruthless and cutthroat, ethics and morals are still valued. And when you protect your intellectual property, it’s a form of respecting your hard work and effort keeps it away from dangerous hands.
Competitive Advantage. Another way of looking at it is to protect your competitive advantage on the market. It helps set your startup business apart from all other competitors in the industry and gives your target audience a reason to choose your brand over others.
Revenue Stream. Intellectual property can also function as another revenue stream for your startup business. You can choose to sell the rights or license other companies to use your intellectual property.
How Can You Do It?
Luckily, protecting your intellectual property is as easy and accessible as getting online cisco ACI training nowadays. You won’t have to go through any grueling process, and with the right amount of effort, you can completely safeguard your startup’s intellectual property.
Copyright protection is an unregistered right, and when you publish any creative work such as literary works, songs, digital art, and photography, it is automatically in place. So, as long as you clearly state that your work is under copyright and no one can use it without your permission, there’s no need for extra worry.
However, if someone does take your work and calls it theirs, this is when you need to start taking legal action. This is what we call copyright infringement. It is essentially the use or production of your copyright intellectual property without formal request to use it.
For an additional guarantee, you can look towards registering your work so that you have hard evidence in case anyone else will try to claim your work.
If you think you’ve made a breakthrough that no one else has yet to discover, you should consider getting a patent that will safeguard your invention against anyone who tries to copy it. Of course, this only applies to inventions and processes that have not yet been disclosed to the public, but if you’re sure, then this can protect you upwards to 20 years. And during those years, it gives you sufficient time to have unrivaled success with your startup business.
Likewise, you can also license your patent and earn money that way if you prefer taking a more passive approach.
Lastly, if your startup business is constantly seen in the public eye, then we highly encourage you to get a trademark for your business. A trademark applies to your company name, logo, and even a catchphrase and restricts that use only to yourself. This prevents competitors from copying you and helps your customer base distinguish your business from the rest.
Plus, applying for a trademark can be relatively easy as long as you follow the U.S. Patent and Trademark website guidelines.
Protecting Your Brand
In conclusion, intellectual property plays a significant role in any business and is growing by the numbers in our modern-day. As such, it is only right that we take the necessary measures to protect them and prevent people from claiming your hard work as their own. To add, we advise that you get the help of an expert before making any final decisions, so get in touch with your attorney beforehand.