Why do you need to protect your intellectual property?
Intellectual property, much like any other type of property, requires protection, whether to preserve its value or prevent theft.
However, unlike those other types, protecting intellectual property can be difficult to understand, therefore entrepreneurs and companies often ignore it unless their property is threatened.
In this post, we’ll examine how to protect intellectual property in the UK and the risks that make protection necessary.
What Are the Main Threats to Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property in any form is under constant threat of infringement and theft. Individuals or organisations might use or replicate another’s intellectual property without permission, or steal it altogether and claim it as their own work. These threats can originate from different sources, like cybercriminals, competitors, disgruntled employees, or human error.
Why Should I Protect My Intellectual Property?
It can be difficult to visualise intellectual property protection because, most of the time, it’s intangible. However, recognising the tangible risks and consequences of theft and infringement is key to learning how to protect intellectual property.
Protecting your company’s intellectual property can open up create a new source of revenue in the form of licensing to third parties. Without protection, you’ll miss this stream of income and potentially spend more money in litigation and public relations services should another party replicate your rights and ideas without permission.
A critical aspect of a company’s success is branding. Failure to keep intellectual property protected leaves it vulnerable to others undermining your brand by ‘passing off’ their products as yours or they may register it as their own. This tarnishes your business’s reputation and could lower your company’s value and revenue.
Most importantly, protecting your intellectual property offers you and your business legal protection and redress against competitors seeking to steal or infringe on what’s rightfully yours.
What Are the Common Methods for Protecting Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property is primarily protected through registration.
Registration requires identifying the type of protection your product is eligible for.
There are numerous intellectual property protection types, such as:
- Trade mark
- Industrial design
- Geographical indications
- Trade secret
Furthermore, a single product can be eligible for registration under more than one intellectual property protection types.
For example, inventing a product can generate a patent, as well as a trade mark of the logo and a copyright of its artwork.
Why Is It So Difficult to Protect Intellectual Property?
In the internet age, it’s increasingly difficult to protect intellectual property.
Businesses either operate solely online or use the internet to market and sell their products or services. As content becomes easier to create and distribute to a global audience, it becomes easier to reuse or recreate.
Although increased exposure is great for business, it leaves a company vulnerable to their content being reproduced without authorisation or the benefit of proper licensing.
Most of the laws governing intellectual property protection are unenforceable or hard to enforce against a digital platform.
What Is the Best Way to Protect Intellectual Property?
First and foremost, registering your intellectual property with your local intellectual property body is the best intellectual property protection possible.
It will deter potential thieves and give you legal recourse.
At the same time, it’s important to know how to protect intellectual property before there’s a threat.
Take cyber security measures, like installing anti-virus and anti-malware software, using secure networks and encryption. Likewise, monitor who has access to intellectual property and other sensitive information, implement multi-step verification, and revoke access from former employees.
Involving employees is crucial to keeping your intellectual property protected. Offer training on company property and potential breaches such as phishing. Moreover, keeping them abreast of cyber security protocol will engender a culture of collaboration, rather than suspicion.
Can Intellectual Property Be Legally Protected?
The threat of intellectual property theft and infringement can be alarming. However, it is eligible for legal protection in many countries, including the UK.
How Is Intellectual Property Protected in the UK?
If you want to know how to protect intellectual property in the UK, the best place to start is with the Intellectual Property Office.
The type of protection you’re seeking will determine how much registration costs, how long the application process is, and how long registration lasts.
Therefore, knowing how to protect intellectual property in the UK requires carefully taking stock of your business and determining what’s eligible for protection.
How Can Entrepreneurs Protect Intellectual Property?
As an entrepreneur, it may not be feasible to invest in extensive cyber security measures or hire a legal department to manage your company’s intellectual property portfolio. In fact, many large and successful businesses outsource management of their intellectual property to specialist firms such as Trademark Eagle.
There are cost effective methods to keep your intellectual property protected, such as registering with the Intellectual Property Office or using non-disclosure agreements when engaging in business that may expose your intellectual property.
Cyber security methods such as password management, data encryption and using a VPN can also be accessed at affordable prices.
Contact Trademark Eagle
As an entrepreneur or company, you’re constantly monitoring for threats or competition to your business.
With Trademark Eagle, you can rest assured that one such threat will be resolved.
We have a team of professionals ready and waiting to explain, streamline and execute the trade mark process for your business’s products as well as to assist you in dealing with unauthorised use of your Intellectual Property.