If you run a company, you wouldn’t let complete strangers sell off your property or ransack your bank accounts. So it’s surprising just how many companies fail to protect their intellectual property, an increasingly important asset in today’s knowledge based economy (and arguably one that’s worth more in the long run than bricks and mortar). Make no mistake – if your company has invented anything or developed a brand, there are people out there who will be only too willing to infringe your rights and make money off the back of your creations. Unless, of course, you take the following steps to protect and develop your intellectual property rights.
1. Register your trade marks
A trade mark is like a personal signature for your company, setting your goods and services apart from the goods and services of your competitors. Unless you’re happy with the idea of unscrupulous traders pretending to be you, get a trade mark registered as soon as you possibly can.
2. Patent your products and processes
If your company has invented something new or improved upon existing processes, it’s absolutely essential that you get a patent granted at the earliest opportunity. This will prevent anybody else copying your ideas and making money from them at your expense. One of our intellectual property specialists can also help you to obtain design rights, which will protect the appearance of your products.
3. Control your copyright
Copyright protection extends to all manner of created works, including those created on a computer, eg, website text. Make sure that any work created by your business is dated and logged centrally, so that you have evidence to help stamp out any copyright infringement should anyone copy it without your consent.
4. Pursue all infringements vigorously
When all is said and done, intellectual property infringement is theft, and should be treated as such. Any infringements which come to light should be swiftly and vigorously stamped upon – a cease and desist letter from one of our IP Solicitors is often enough to do this.
5. Know your rights
Finally, you need to be thoroughly familiar with all of the intellectual property rights that your company holds, and the best way to protect them. The importance of this cannot be overstated, so consult a specialist IP lawyer for expert UK intellectual property advice if you’re in even the slightest doubt.
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