Newsflash: Your Competitors Want Your Intellectual Property – But You Knew That Already, Didn’t You?
(ThyBlackMan.com) It’s no secret that your competitors want your intellectual property. After all, it’s what makes your company valuable. And so they’ll be looking at whether there is any way they can leverage your brand to further their own business.
The good news is that there is a load of ways that your company can hit back, using many different legal and strategic tools.
So what can be done?
Prosecute IP Thieves
Nothing acts as a good deterrent more than prosecutions and convictions for IP theft. Fines in the US and abroad can be substantial and are often proportionate to a company’s revenue, meaning that significant damage can be done to their operations, whether they are big or small. Then, of course, there is the added benefit that you’ll most likely receive a hefty compensation package, which you can then reinvest in your product.
Apply For Patents
There’s a lot of patent trolling going on in the US at the moment. Essentially, this is where a company files for a patent which it probably won’t ever use but does so just in case another company develops a related product. The company that filed the patent then has the right to charge the other company a license fee for the use of their technology, netting themselves a handsome profit in the process.
To avoid any disappointment, it’s a good idea to apply for a patent as soon as you’ve had the idea. While you’re waiting for the patent to go through, you can spend time further refining and developing your product, as well as build up your marketing in preparation for launch.
Copyright All Your Material
According to Xavier Morales, trademark expert, there’s also a risk that companies and criminals will attempt to use your branding for their own ends. In other words, businesses can take your logo, plaster it all over their shop windows or websites, and pretend to be you, grabbing all your business’s cachet in the process. Obviously, you don’t want this, as you’ll lose business, and the other firm might sully your good name. Copyright all your materials, including your trademark.
Record Any Evidence Of Wrongdoing
Marketing Donut advises companies to keep a log of all of the IP violations that they come across. It’s a good idea, they say, to keep dated and signed drawings and drafts in order to prove that a particular idea originated with your company. This so-called contemporaneous evidence can then be used in a court of law in any future dispute.
Watch Out For China
China doesn’t exactly have the best record when it comes to intellectual property protection. In fact, the whole of South East Asia is pretty lax. As a result, it’s a good idea to make sure that if you are trying to sell in China, that you go through all of the local copyrighting laws and make sure your brand is protected. If your business is new, it might be worth avoiding southeast Asia until you’ve got the size and the legal might to fight the battles you’ll encounter there.
Staff Writer; Larry Hall