Most businesses these days have valuable intellectual property (IP) that is integral to their ongoing success. As explained by the International Trade Association, protection of IP is crucial to maintain a competitive advantage over similar businesses.
IP includes many forms of intangible assets, including logos, business names, artistic works, images, symbols, and many other assets. Here are a few ways you can safeguard IP and ensure you remain one step ahead of the competition.
File for protection in the U.S.
As a U.S.-based business owner, the first form of protection you file must take place in this country. In this case, you must decide whether to file for a copyright or patent, both of which have specific applications. For example, copyrights cover authored works like software, novels, business logos, and other types of assets. On the other hand, patents protect inventions you have developed, such as specific mechanisms.
Consider filing in other countries
If you do business in other countries or plan on expanding your business, you must also file for IP protection in relevant areas. When it comes to countries that are part of the European Union (EU), you do not need to file an application in every country. Instead, you can file with the EU, and that filing will apply to any country within. Keep in mind that a country having a free trade agreement with the U.S. does not affect IP protection. As a result, you must also file in those countries.
Swift action is crucial when it comes to IP. Consider that many countries ascribe to a “first to file” principle, which means another party could secure protection of your IP if they file an application before you.