Business owners understand they need to protect their physical assets with an insurance policy, such as equipment, inventory, buildings and other tangible property.
But many businesses fail to take steps to protect their intangibles, such as their name, logo, creative ideas and other intellectual property, which the World Intellectual Property Organization defines as “creations of the mind.”
Ways to protect intellectual property
Safeguarding these creative ideas and keeping them from falling into your competitors’ hands may be vital to your business’s continued success. The main ways to shield these ideas include:
- Trademarks, which protect your branding and marketing, such as the business’s name, logo, products and services you provide
- Copyrights, which safeguard creative ideas that transition into tangible items, such as music, exhibited art and performances, literary publications and architectural designs
- Patents, which give companies exclusive rights to a process or product that typically creates a solution to a problem or a new way of doing something
It’s advisable to work with an experienced intellectual property attorney who understands Kentucky laws as some ideas may require a combination of these steps to be fully protected.
Safeguarding trade secrets
Trade secrets are intellectual property that may be sold or licensed. The information must be valuable and known only to a select group of people. This info can generally be protected through:
- Nondisclosure agreements (NDA)
- Noncompete clauses and other types of contracts
A significant number of lawsuits result from trademark, copyright and patent violations. However, many “idea litigation” cases arise after an NDA or noncompete is breeched.
Bringing a legal claim and pursuing compensation
Your lawyer will help you gather data over when you created the idea, who was in the know and how it compares to what your competitor is currently doing. This can include all correspondence as well as witnesses who were involved in discussions over the idea.
Intellectual property cases often involve high stakes, which can determine the continued success or even a company’s survival. Therefore, it’s essential to work with attorneys with prior experience in these matters to put safeguards in place or collect maximum compensation when litigation occurs.