Preserving the integrity of your intellectual property is essential to the prosperity and the overall success of your business. What exactly is intellectual property and how do you keep it safe? Legally defined, your intellectual property is made up of items that you have devised that are original and that give you an economic benefit.
Intellectual property generally includes things such as designs, inventions, designs, trade secrets, and original works of authorship. How you go about protecting your intellectual property will depend on what kind of intellectual property that you have.
Inventions are a vital cornerstone of companies all over the world. If your company has devised a new and improved method or product that is both original and beneficial, then you will absolutely need to safeguard the edge that it will give your company by securing a patent for your invention. The person who holds a patent is able to prevent any third parties from copying, marketing or using the invention for several years. The actual length of time will depend on the exact type of invention for which the patent was obtained. Securing a patent can sometimes be difficult, so it is usually advisable to hire a business attorney with the necessary background in patent law to assist you in your efforts.
If your company is prone to coming up with new and innovative products or ideas on a regular basis, then it is extremely necessary that you have a precise understanding of exactly who owns these innovations, whether the company owns them once they are created or does the employee who created them in the first place own them?
This answer will vary from company to company. No matter which one you chose, you will need to ensure that your employees sign a formal agreement acknowledging what happens to new creations, that way there will be no legal disputes from either end anywhere down the road.
A copyright is something that provides legal protection for “original works of authorship, fixed in a tangible medium of expression including literary, musical, and dramatic works, as well as photographs, audio and visual recordings, software, and other intellectual works.” Copyright protection is in place the minute that the work is fixed in a tangible medium. The author or creator needs to start using the copyright symbol right away as a means of telling other people that he plans to control the distribution, production, performance, or display of the work.
Filing for copyright protection is not strictly necessary, however, going ahead and filing will make it much simpler to receive court enforcement of your legally protected copyright. If you have produced original work and are unclear as to whether or not filing for a copyright is the right thing for you to do, then you need to meet with a qualified business attorney so that they may advise you on what you need to do.
Each business is different, run by different people and with different goals in mind. Safeguarding your intellectual property, however, is mandatory in today’s society. It can be confusing to know exactly which path you should follow to make sure that the best interests of your company are legally protected. A licensed business attorney will have far more information and can you help make an informed decision when it comes to the best thing to do with your new invention or idea. For a free consultation regarding your business, contact the Leiva Law Firm by calling us at 818-519-4465 and speaking with one of our business attorneys today.