December 10, 2018
We are now living in a society where a business’ intellectual property – whether that be a trade secret, invention, or brand name – is more valuable than their physical assets. You may not expect your ideas to be copied and, as a business owner, seeking out protection may not seem like a priority. But intellectual property theft does happen, and it is important to be prepared for the worst.
In the following blog, we take a look at how you can protect your business’ intellectual property, offering useful tips and outlining the services currently available here at Prosperity Law.
3 ways to protect your business intellectual property
1. Get ahead of the game
If you have a brilliant idea for a new product or business, it is human nature to want to tell everyone who cares to listen. You are proud of what you have created and excited about its potential. However, before you shout it from the rooftops, it may be worth taking a step back and considering your intellectual property rights. Your idea is an asset and it should be protected as such.
Start by doing a little research into the current market. If a competitor has already claimed exclusive rights to the product or idea, there is no point continuing further. If it turns out to be a fresh idea, then identify which aspects of the product (or business plan) can be protected by intellectual property law – including copyright, design rights, trademark, patents, and passing off.
As the old saying goes ‘prevention is better than cure’ and, even if money is tight, it is worth taking a proactive approach. Be sure to get ahead of the game, protect your intellectual property in the early stages of business development, and you could save a lot of time, effort and money in the long run.
2. Establish agreements with clients and employees
As a start-up business, you will naturally need to present your idea to potential clients or investors – but it is important to be wary. The last thing you want is for a sneaky business mogul to steal your idea in the early stages and pass it off as their own. Therefore, before sharing any information, ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement which confirms you are the rightful owner of the idea.
It is also a good idea to be careful when hiring new staff. Intellectual property rights are usually covered in a permanent employment contract; however, when hiring temporary staff, things can get a little hazy. Such employees may try to claim ownership for anything they create whilst working for you and, to be on the safe side, it is worth including a clause that transfers ownership to you.
3. Find an intellectual property solicitor
When new to the world of business, it can be difficult to understand what counts as intellectual property – let alone how to protect it! If you are struggling to get to grips with the law and you think your business is at risk, it may be time to invest in a professional intellectual property solicitor.
As a specialist in this area, they can advise on all aspects of intellectual property – including everything from copyright and trademarks to product patents and registered designs. All relevant applications will be submitted to the UK intellectual property office on your behalf and they will know best how to manage, protect and exploit the intellectual property of your individual business.
Contact Prosperity Law for intellectual property services
Here at Prosperity Law, we currently have a fantastic team of solicitors, who specialise in intellectual property rights and protection. They demonstrate a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area and can offer both technical advice and practical help – particularly with respect to patents, trademarks, design rights, confidentiality issues, and passing-off rights.