5 Tips for Effective IPR Management

When you are trying to manage a business, someone else’s intellectual property right (IPR) is not one of the principal things that remain a priority. However, it is an important matter that warrants due diligence to ensure that you or your business do not end up infringing on someone’s IPR. This is because an IP violation can be pretty costly not just in terms of finances but also in terms of your reputation.

IP infringement is known to open up businesses to a series of expensive legal battles and irrevocable loss of face in the fraternity. Not only that, an IP violation, if done deliberately, can even result in a criminal charge which is usually enough to deal a death blow to any business. So, you must take certain steps to ensure your business does not infringe IPR. Here is a list of 5 tips that will help you in Effective IPR Management: 

Figure: 5 Good tips for Successful IPR Management

1. Carry out exhaustive IP searches

Start with a thorough search of the internet and IP databases. It is wise to do this before investing your valuable time and effort in developing something new. If you have a great product idea in mind, carry out a patent search to make sure that the idea is uniquely yours and that you won’t have to backtrack owing to IP infringement. If you have come up with the perfect name for your business, your first order of business is a comprehensive trademark search to confirm that something similar is not already registered. If you think an original creative work can be of use in your business, first check if it is copyrighted property. Given how dearly IP infringement can cost you, it is also worth considering hiring seasoned IP professionals to help you with the process.

2. Maintain ownership records of original works

Any design, phrase, or product created by an in-house employee or a freelancer does not automatically become the intellectual property of your business. So, it is important that your contract with them clearly states rights to any and every original work created by them lies with only the business. Or else, the creators can register the works themselves and then sue your business on account of IP violation. 

3. Get an appropriate license to use registered material

If you do use any copyrighted creative work, you must obtain the consent of the copyright holder in writing. You must never use any registered material without first acquiring the required license and clearly-stated, written consent issued by the owner of the copyright.

4. Use unlicensed media

You will often find IP that is free of rights on the internet, especially when it comes to media. These pieces of IP can be used by your business without the fear of recrimination. Although it is best to credit the creator whenever possible, not doing so won’t cause any serious damage to your business either in the case of royalty-free media. 

5. Don’t make a guess when it comes to IPR

It is very common to find images without explicit licensing information on the internet. People who use such images without attributing those to their original authors often end up in trouble by infringing IP. So, if you are not sure about the ownership of a particular piece of IP, do not use it. Even if the creator of the work had not staked claim to the piece of IP in the first place, you still run the risk of landing in legal trouble.

The world of IP is tediously complex. Avoiding IP infringement may also prove to be a cumbersome task requiring multiple people with different skillsets. So, do not hesitate to consult IP lawyers and industry experts. It is imprudent to leave something like IP infringement that can ruin your entire business to chance. You must implement the required measures to ensure your business does not infringe IPR, thereby saving you the trouble of legal action and financial damages. 

-The Editorial Team

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