When you finally get the chance to expand and realize your long developed dreams of running your own business, you have to make sure you protect your ideas along the way. Your first thought may be to patent or copyright your intellectual property, but those efforts are not as secure as they once were.
There are other options, however, that will provide more effective security for the most valuable secrets of your product/operation. Take a few moments to learn a little about how you can protect your intellectual property as you build and expand your small business.
Make certain that your idea is unique
Use the internet to search through known patents and trademarks to make sure that your idea isn’t infringing upon another organization’s rights. You have to make sure that you’re the one who came up with the idea, before you invest time and money into the production of your intellectual property.
Patents aren’t always the answer
Filing a patent for your big idea is great, but it is limited to the specifications you set forth at that time. Making augmentations and improvements to the creation can make the patents a bit more tricky to enforce.
Your business will likely face others making similar products to capitalize on your idea. Standardize your idea with a standards association to add a little more protection.
Use separate teams to create the whole product
Utilize separate teams to put together your big idea, and make sure that no one team has all the information regarding the complete project. When you piece out vital info, you have a little more power over the production of the finished project.
This tactic preserves the sanctity of your product and makes it much harder to steal. Several different teams would have to undermine the process and work together to succeed in ripping off your product creation.
Write up strong disclosure agreements
When it comes to dealing with the knowledge you allow your employees to absorb, you have to make sure their loose lips don’t do damage to the business. You need to draw up clear non-disclosure agreements for each employee to sign, so you have legal backing should they choose to share trade secrets with the competition.
Publish content with clear attributions
Get your product or creation (whatever it may be) out into the eye of the public. It’s really hard to take a company’s idea when millions of people can attest to the fact that you came up with it first. Though the Coke label is trademarked, you wouldn’t need mounds of paperwork to prove that it’s their original idea. People know a Coke when they see it.