5 Methods to Protect Your Company from Intellectual Property Theft
Protection of intellectual property (IP) is rapidly gaining importance among small, medium, and large enterprises. Further, these enterprises are deploying increasingly innovative methods to protect their IP. This is because their R&D teams toil away to develop new product designs or processes, and the theft of these lucrative assets may compromise the entire R&D process and lead to massive business losses.
This article discusses the five methods that you can use to protect your company from IP theft.
The Need for IP Protection
Companies or individual inventors need to protect their IP for numerous reasons. Firstly, IP protection stops your competitors from misusing your invention. Secondly, you can monetize your IP to generate revenue for your business activities. Lastly but most importantly, IP protection helps in fostering innovation within the R&D departments of businesses. This is because R&D teams tend to focus more on new R&D activities once their ideas are protected.
How to Stop Intellectual Property Theft?
Here are five methods that you can use to protect your company from IP theft:
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
Companies often go for a sales pitch to gather investors for the commercialization of a new invention. This is because they are either planning to patent the said invention or are already in the process of obtaining a patent. However, as they have not obtained a patent yet, the sales pitch attendees must be made to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with the investors to protect their invention.
- Provisional Patent Application
It is a common knowledge that not all innovative products or processes developed by an R&D team are successful. However, companies must file a provisional patent application for their innovative idea. This is because a provisional patent application not only protects an idea but also the R&D team’s efforts even when it is in a ‘Patent Pending’ status.
- Appoint a Patent Attorney
Appointing a patent attorney is a common approach for protecting your R&D team’s innovation. Since attorneys are bound by ethics, they do not disclose your innovations to others. Furthermore, they can guide the R&D teams by informing them of all possible legal workarounds to an invention. Once the R&D teams have a better understanding of the different ways in which individuals or companies can steal their innovation, they can develop similar workaround innovations. This can also help the companies in preparing a more robust patent application to protect their IP.
- Enhance Cybersecurity Measures
It is imperative for companies to set up state-of-the-art technological solutions like strong firewalls to strengthen their cybersecurity. The reason is that these days companies store most of their work on digital platforms. Therefore, it is crucial to have strong cybersecurity measures that can help in preventing theft of their IP.
- Employee Confidentiality Agreement
Another useful method to have greater control over your employees as well as to protect your R&D team’s innovation is to have an employee confidentiality agreement. These days, most organizations possess a sizeable IP portfolio. Therefore, they usually have employee confidentiality agreements that prohibit employees from sharing any information outside the company. According to such agreements, when existing or former employees attempt to compromise the sensitive information regarding innovations, the organization can take legal action against them.
IP theft is more common than one might think. In fact, such thefts are on the rise. Therefore, companies or individual inventors need to employ methods to protect their IP. In case companies lose their IP despite taking adequate protection measures, it is advisable to take a legal course of action to secure their rights over the stolen IP.
– IPMS and Editorial Team