Smart Strategies For High-Stakes Situations

Ways to protect intellectual property in your business

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2022 | intellectual property law

Intellectual property refers to innovation and creativity in the form of technological, artistic and scientific developments. Because they are not tangible goods, it can be easier for someone to use IP for their own benefit.

There are various ways that one can protect intellectual property. These allow the public to use the property under specific conditions while the inventors receive proper compensation for their works.

Types of intellectual property protection

Depending on the type of intellectual property, the Rogers State University Libraries outlines four different types of protection:

  • Copyright: Copyrights protect original works of authorships, including unpublished and published works. Examples include poems, songs, movies, architecture and computer software.
  • Trademark: Trademarks protect colors, symbols, words or sounds that distinguish services and goods from other similar ones. Examples include brands, slogans and logos.
  • Patent: Patents protect inventions. These include a wide variety of products in various industries.
  • Trade secret: Trade secrets are information used by businesses to obtain an economic advantage over competitors. Examples include formulas, recipes, techniques, customer lists and programs.

How to protect your business

Although these IP protections are often adequate to protect individuals, certain businesses may want to take additional steps to protect intellectual property produced by employees and contractors for the company. The Columbia Law School discusses adding a work-for-hire provision to employee contracts. This clause outlines that anything employees invent, write or design belongs to the company and not the individual.

Businesses that use trade secrets or other intellectual property that helps them compete with similar businesses may want employees to sign a non-compete agreement. This states that an employee cannot work for a competitor or begin their own competing company.