Intellectual assets or intellectual property have helped individuals and businesses benefit from their inventions, brands and copyrighted materials. Unfortunately, instances of intellectual property thefts have increased over the years. Third parties can, whether intentionally or unintentionally, steal your intellectual property for their own use or greed. If you do not protect your intellectual properties properly, this can result to both tangible and intangible losses.
To help you better safeguard your intellectual properties, we have discussed five effective ways that can protect your intellectual assets.
Apply for Intellectual Property Rights
Individuals and organizations can protect their intellectual assets protecting them appropriately. For inventions, the proper type of protection is generally the filing of a patent application. For brands, trademark protections is appropriate. For works of art, copyright protection may be available. Trade secrets may also be invaluable in specific circumstances. Where proper protection exists, it may be possible to stop third parties from infringing.
Avoid Joint Ownership
Joint ownership can be tricky and is generally not recommended. While many of the issues can be overcome with additional agreements, there is always a risk of argument between joint owners. This can lead to lengthy legal battles to determine the rightful ownership. In some cases, ownership rights can be lost or divided. In both of these cases, this can have devastating effects on a business.
Police your Intellectual Property
If a third party infringes your intellectual property rights, it is important to take action against them. In some cases, a failure to stop an infringer may lead to a loss of profits. In other cases, however, a failure to stop an infringer can lead to a loss of intellectual property rights. A successful infringement suit can help deter others from infringing.
Keep Things Confidential
Maintaining confidentiality of your invention until after a patent application is filed is prudent for a number of reasons. While both Canada and the United States offer a one year grace period after a public disclosure to file a patent application, many other countries in the world do not. This means that if your invention is disclosed before a patent application is filed, you could lose the rights to patent your invention. There is also a risk that a third party could take steps to file an application before you if they know that you are close to doing so yourself and have knowledge of your invention.
Consult Registered Patent and Trademark Agents
Registered patent and trademark agents can provide assistance in the protection of intellectual property and provide opinions and strategies for appropriate protections. A registered agent can help with preparation and filing of intellectual property documents for formal protections. Guidance about inventorship, ownership, and other intellectual property questions can also be answered by a registered agent. Their assistance can be invaluable in protecting your assets.
For more information about patents, trademarks, copyright, or general intellectual property questions, contact us.