Protecting Your Intellectual Property (IP)
By Alexander Gordon
Intellectual Property (IP), in the literal sense, refers to the property of one’s intellect or mind. In terms of business, it is defined as one’s proprietary knowledge.
Need For Protection of IP:
Depending on the nature of business you are into, your intellectual property could be anything such as a design, formula, process, system, and invention. Such a property is the most valuable asset that a company owns. IP is most valued because it can it provides various companies much needed leverage to stay remain ahead of competition successfully. This feature makes IP essential for a company.
IP is conferred on people who are recognized for their creative effort and is essentially a legal recognition. Such recognition gives one the right to fully exploit others IP for own benefit. As the owner of IP, you are allowed to sell, bequeath, or license your IP at your wish as much like any other real estate transaction.
Things to Remember:
To own your creation all by your own, you need to seek IP protection in every country. Adequate international agreements are in place, making it easier for the right seekers to obtain IP protection rights in other countries. The process of obtaining these rights, is however, very costly and generally involves translation of application forms into several other languages, as per the applicant’s request.
You must be aware of the fact that just formally declaring that you are the owner of the IP does not solve the problem. Most importantly, do not speak about possession of any such IP before legally owning it. If you speak about such an ownership to others before obtaining the legal recognition, there are chances that your competitors may use such information to their advantage. This will mean that your products will not be considered new and hence you will not be able to get a patent for the product. In addition, you will be unable to prevent your product from being copied.
Clearly Define IP to Partners:
It is important that you clearly define issues relate to IP to your partners, especially you are into a joint venture with another company or companies. In case where you are marketing a brand in a particular market together with your joint-venture partner or involving the partner in design modification, you need to make sure who will retain the IP rights. It is preferable that you enter this clause into the partnership agreement itself.
You must also be aware of the fact that to market an IP product in another country, you need to obtain IP rights for the particular product in that country separately. Also check the expiry date for the IP right holding.
Alexander Gordon is a writer for The Small Business Consulting Community. Business Owners all across the country are joining "The Community of Small Business Owners” to receive and provide strategies, insight, tips, support and more on starting, managing, growing, and selling their businesses. As a member, you will have access to true Millionaire Business Owners who will provide strategies and tips from their real-life experiences.