No matter what field you are in, you have probably heard of intellectual property and might even have a few IP-related ideas that you have created. If you think that some of the things you have fully created could be worth something, then you will want to protect your intellectual property and ensure that no one tries to take your ideas for themselves.
But how exactly do you do that? And what separates the ideas that have some value from the random ideas that float through your head and only seem like they have some value? That’s what this article is going to cover, and by the time it is over your intellectual property will be ironclad.
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The Four Types Of Intellectual Property
There are four ways to keep your intellectual property safe from those who might want to steal it, and they are a utility patent, a copyright claim, a trademark, or a trade secret. Of course, being able to pick the right one is going to help to ensure everything is kept safe, so let’s go into a little more detail about each one.
A copyrighted piece of art, music, or book means that the work is protected for the lifetime of the original creator, plus 70 years after their death. Copyright protects the tangible representations of the creator’s ideas, and people can’t use copyrighted materials for monetary gain without the permission of the copyright holders.
Trademarks protect words, logos, symbols, and phrases that can identify a good or service. For example, the phrase Coca-Cola doesn’t really mean anything, but because it is associated with the soft drink that bears its name, the phrase is trademarked. The trademark registration can be used forever, as long as the item continues to be used and it is renewed every 10 years.
3. Patents and Trade Secrets
Patents protect inventions that are new and novel for 20 years, and you can’t patent items that already exist. Trade Secrets are pieces of IP that your company chooses to keep close in order to keep out of the hands of rival companies.
While trade secrets might not be officially protected, you need to be able to prove your company made efforts to hold and protect the trade secret for it to be protected from theft.
How To Keep Intellectual Property Safe
If you want to keep your intellectual property safe, no matter what type of IP you are using, then you can take some measures to keep everything safe. The best way to do this is to register your ideas with the government and to enforce and know your ownership rights.
Additionally, recording your discoveries along with the date and time that you thought of them can be very helpful when it comes to keeping your ideas safe.
Understanding Your Intellectual Property Rights
As an IP owner, you have certain intellectual property rights. For example the right to use a Digital Right Management (DRM) system, which protects your digital work from being copied and then used by someone else. It’s a type of encryption that anyone can use, and it can keep your online data safe.
NDAs (nondisclosure agreements) can also be a great way to protect information within a large team. It prevents any involved parties from sharing the information that is disclosed in the agreement with others.
There are a lot of ways to keep your intellectual property safe from those who might steal it or attempt to profit from your ideas, and with a little bit of effort, you can keep your property safe until you are ready to make money off of it.