For an entrepreneur starting a new business venture, there are many things to think about. Advertising, product, employment issues, financing, real estate issues and other major concerns can be overwhelming. One of the most important issues that, unfortunately, many entrepreneurs do not attend to when starting a new business is intellectual property (IP) protection.
It is critical to protect your intellectual property
This oversight can be catastrophic for a new business. In a time in history when the traditional brick and mortar stores are diminishing and assets are moving more towards technology and information, it is more critical than ever to protect your intellectual property.
Following these four simple steps will help you protect your company’s intellectual property:
- A system of disclosure: It is critical for businesses to create a system of disclosure of new forms of intellectual property and to incentivize this disclosure among employees and those under contract. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission calls “the timely, robust and complete disclosure of material information” the “cornerstone” of this system.
- Appropriate employment agreements: Non-competition clauses, non-disclosure agreements and clear explanations about ownership of IP are critical to protecting your business’s intellectual property.
- Control over access: In addition to sound company policies regarding which employees have access to sensitive information, your company should use caution with cloud sources, data encryption and technological access issues to protect your IP rights.
- Working with an IP lawyer: An experienced intellectual property lawyer can help you audit your current systems and policies to make sure you are not vulnerable, can help you create employee handbooks and policies to protect your IP rights and can fight for your company if your IP has been compromised.
The most important thing to remember as a young company trying to protect your intellectual property assets: You should not try to handle this on your own.