No matter how large your company is, it’s essential that you plan for success. This means that you will need to plan for every possibility, no matter whether it is a financial disaster or a huge amount of growth. Businesses that grow fast with a strong intellectual property portfolio will be able to stay in the game longer, but if you don’t protect your property, others can quickly swoop in and steal all of your work, with you not getting any of the profit. With so many people out there looking to rip you off and make a quick dollar, here are five ways you can protect your intellectual property rights to prevent this from happening.
Unless you have a law degree, understanding intellectual property is a complicated process. Take your time to educate yourself about copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and patents. The Internet is filled with thousands of reputable resources that can help get on the right path to understanding what you need to know. In most cases, it is going to take you hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to properly file a patent. This might seem like a great deal of work, but it is the only way that you will be able to fully protect everything that you have made and can claim as your own.
2. Work with an Attorney
It’s never too early to start working with a patent attorney. If you haven’t hired one yet, start interviewing a few in your area. Connecting with a reputable attorney can help you make sure everything is set up appropriately, and it can also save you a great deal of time and work.
Aside from a patent attorney, highly consider having an aggressive criminal defense attorney lined up as well. Even if you have the best setup possible to protect your assets, there are going to be people out there that will still try to beat the game and steal your hard work.
3. File Fast
The minute you’re thinking about filing a patent, don’t wait to do so. Even if you don’t think you’re fully ready, the United States allows you 12 months to expand upon your filing from the initial submission date. When you apply for a patent, you’re going to have to file your paperwork, and from there your application will wait in line with the other applications. On average, your patent can take up to five years to fully process.
4. Think Foreign
When you file a patent inside of the United States, you have to remember that it won’t cover you in foreign areas. With competitors sprawling in Europe and China, it’s so important that you investigate international patents as well.
Since filing can take more than five years, start thinking about your goals down the road. Does the future involve more patents? Should you prepare for more filings? By having a long-term plan, you will be able to make the patent process much easier down the road, which will ensure that all of your intellectual property remains properly protected.
Intellectual property rights are essential to your business. If you fail to do things right, you’re making it too easy for your competitors to steal your ideas. To make sure your business is successful and protected in the future, it’s best to start protecting your assets today.
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