How to keep your intellectual property safe in a 21st century world

These days, the majority of all new wealth is being created by ideas, not from physical things like gold or steel.

As such, you must do your utmost to keep ideas on which you are working secure from prying eyes. This extends to those working on a physical product, especially if crucial information about it is on the web or on a hackable server.

In a world filled with opportunists and slimy patent trolls, a little security can go a long way.

By following the advice of intellectual property attorneys like Allen Hartman give, you will be ensuring your idea remains yours – in the article below, we’ll get into specifics.


1) Figure out what patents, trademarks, and copyrights are

Before you can defend your ideas from bad actors, you should learn about the things that will help you defend your intellectual property.

Once you know the difference between a copyright, patents, and trademarks, your next steps will become clear.

For instance, patents give a person or entity the right to make use of a product or process in any way they see fit, while trademarks protect things like the specific wording of a slogan or design of a physical item.


2) Make a list of what needs to be protected

After learning what each form of intellectual property protection does, you can then take appropriate action to defend your business from idea thieves.

For example, slogans or designs should be trademarked, things like articles, songs, and catchphrases should get a copyright, and to secure ownership of an invention or process, you will need a patent.


3) Get an intellectual property lawyer

While knowing about the basics of trademarks, copyrights, and patents is essential, you will still want to protect yourself by hiring legal help.

There are numerous legal backdoors opportunists can use to jack your idea, so hiring an intellectual property attorney is of paramount importance.

Knowing this field inside and out, they can craft legalese that will allow you to effectively defend information that is rightfully yours.


4) Have a non-disclosure agreement drawn up

While you might be a one person operation now, a point will come when you will need to welcome other human beings into your business. As important as they are when it comes to expanding your company, they also introduce an extra set of eyes which may not have the best of intentions.

Protect yourself by having them sign on to a non-disclosure agreement. Also known as an NDA, it compels them to stay quiet about your idea, else they suffer penalties under the law.


5) File patents ASAP

When you get to the point of having a game changing product on your hands, you should take the step of filing for a patent as quickly as you can.

In America, you are able to make alterations to a patent 12 months after filing it, so stop trying to get it perfect the first time and get it out there, as you can simply correct miscues and add to your vision for a full year afterward.

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