What is intellectual property and how can you protect it?

Protecting your company’s intellectual property is like safeguarding a golden egg-laying goose. It is the key to maintaining your competitive advantage and staying ahead of the competition. While it is unfortunate that unauthorized parties may attempt to profit from your unique ideas, it is a reality of day-to-day business. Taking the necessary steps to keep your intellectual property safe and secure is an active part of an organization’s growth.

Intellectual property theft takes a heavy toll on the US economy, ranging from $225 billion to $600 billion annually. Businesses must prioritize the implementation of robust contractual measures to shield their valuable intellectual assets. Ideas transcend industries, and shielding intellectual property is a matter of protecting revenue and the rewards of innovations.

Taking this into consideration, what are the different types of intellectual property, and how do you protect them?

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is, in essence, ideas owned by an organization or an individual. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) defines it as tangible assets owned by an organization or an individual or “ creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce.”

It can present itself in various categories, such as: 

  • Patents:

These are legal rights that grant the inventor of a new and useful product, process, or improvement the exclusive right to make, use, or sell it for a limited time.

  • Trademarks: 

This category groups signs, symbols, words, or designs that distinguish the goods or services of one entity from those of others in the market.

  • Copyrights:

They give the creator the sole right to copy, share, show, or modify the work, allowing the creator to decide how the work is used and distributed.

  • Trade secrets:

This is the confidential information that gives a business a competitive edge over its rivals, such as formulas, recipes, methods, or techniques.

Understanding IP ownership rights is crucial for effective contract drafting. This understanding can help you avoid disputes, clarify the terms of the agreement, ensure compliance, and protect your interests. 

Unfortunately, many businesses do not take the necessary steps to secure their intellectual property assets, which can result in significant losses and damages. According to a survey, 21.7% of US CFOs believe their companies fell victim to IP theft. 

How to protect intellectual property?

Contracts serve as a means of protection against infringement, imitation, and unfair competitionfrom unwanted parties. It also enhances the financial potential of a business, making it easier to secure funding, attract investors, and expand globally. Think of an IP as a desirable asset, and contracts as the legal framework that unlocks its full potential to be licensed.

Well-written agreements give you the exclusive ownership and right to use your trademarks, patents, designs, and trade secrets. This can provide various benefits, such as protecting intellectual property, creating profitable opportunities, and generating revenue through licensing, selling, or franchising your IP.

Intellectual property is an essential asset for any business that aims to succeed in a competitive market. However, protecting it is not always straightforward. Without the right contract management tools, like Zeal, businesses can face various risks concerning their intellectual property rights. This can lead to legal disputes or unauthorized parties exploiting the company’s intellectual property.

Draft the best-suited contracts to protect, manage, and leverage your intellectual property. 

Schedule a demo here and experience it yourself.