Steps Florida Business Owners Must Take to Protect Intellectual Property
Written on August 18, 2021
There can be no question that information is easier to access and distribute than ever, which means that it is also more challenging for Florida business owners to safeguard their intellectual property (IP). As an article in Forbes points out, your trademarks, trade dress, copyright, and patents are assets that carry value. Just as you do with the tangible items your company owns, you must invest time and effort into protecting your intellectual property. When you come up with an original idea, business model, art, writing, or concept that benefits your business, you want to make sure no one else uses it.
However, even if you understand the basics about what intellectual property is, you may not know how to prevent it from being accessed or used by someone else. You can trust a Clearwater business law attorney to handle the specific tasks, including these steps to protecting your intellectual property.
- Keep trade secrets and business ideas confidential.
From the moment they spring to mind, avoid talking about IP-related ideas with anyone who has not signed a nondisclosure agreement. Depending on how they are stored, there should be limited access to trade secrets even among employees. Use of passcodes, encryption, and authentication policies can safeguard digital information; for tangible items, the traditional lock-and-key may be effective. Safeguarding your confidential information requires that you actually keep it confidential.
- Document the details.
Throughout the creative and/or development process for IP, take painstaking, dated notes that prove you came up with the idea and have been working on it. Your documentation may be important proof if another person or entity challenges your ownership. If you do run into problems with misappropriation of your intellectual property, this paperwork will support the efforts of your Pinellas County business litigation lawyer in enforcing your rights.
- Seek official protection where available.
United States and Florida law protects IP in certain formats, so take advantage of government options. For instance:
- You can register trademarks through the US Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) and Florida Division of Corporations.
- The USPTO is also your resource when seeking protection for patentable inventions, processes, and ideas.
- Any art, writings, music, and other creative works may qualify for protection through the US Copyright Office.
- Conduct periodic IP audits.
Protecting your intellectual property is an ongoing task, and it is required whenever you develop, create, or acquire it. Best practices dictate that you archive paperwork, dates, drawings, and related details according to a documented policy. Organization ensures you can conduct regular audits of your IP to check for infringement, misappropriation, and enforcement.
Count on a Clearwater, FL Business Lawyer for Help Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Once you know that your company cannot afford NOT to protect its intellectual property, you realize the importance of each of these steps. Still, the details can be challenging, so it is wise to trust our team at Clearwater Business Law to tackle essential tasks. For more information, please call (727) 785-5100 to set up a consultation with one of our business law attorneys.