For many businesses, their true advantages in a market do not come from their physical assets. Instead, what is truly valuable for them is their intellectual property. This intellectual property, or IP for short, can include anything from branding to artistic works, designs, inventions, and recipes. However, protecting your IP from those that would wish to steal it is harder than you may realize. Below are some strategies for protecting your IP for the long term.
Register Your IP With the Government
One of the best things you can do to protect your IP for the long term is to register it with the appropriate government office. This will give you the most rock solid legal protection possible. The kinds of IP you can register include copyrights, trademarks, and patents. A copyright can protect a creative work and last as long as 70 years. Trademarks cover things like logos and tag-lines and do not expire. Patents protect inventions, formulas, and similar novel creations and can last for up to 20 years.
Work With Lawyers to Protect Your IP
Unfortunately, the world of intellectual property is an almost completely legal one. Since IP isn’t physical in nature, the only way to protect it and enforce ownership is through lawsuits and other legal maneuvers. In regards to who has the right to use your IP and how, you should work closely with IP lawyers on drafting things like licensing contracts and confidentiality agreements that can help protect your IP from ending up in the wrong hands.
Develop a Cohesive IP Strategy
In fact, IP is so important you should be trying to create an overall strategy to maintain and protect it for as long into the future as possible. Your IP should be viewed as important as any other investment into assets you have made. The strategies you implement in regards to IP should also align with your overall business strategies. You may want to work with consultants, law firms, and other outside professionals on developing a cohesive IP strategy your business can stick to for the long term. They can give you more information on how to protect your ideas.
Invest in Security
Certain kinds of intellectual property must remain secret from the public to remain valuable. This includes things like secret recipes, formulas, equipment designs, and computer code. Protecting this kind of IP requires taking on extra security measures. This should include both physical security at your facilities and cyber security for your computers and networks. Without it, you will certainly be targeted by hackers, corporate spies, and other bad actors.
Your IP will not protect itself. It’s going to take a lot of effort over years to competently protect your IP and financially benefit from it. Try to create a comprehensive strategy for your IP within your company to ensure you do profit from it for the long term.