Intellectual property can take a variety of forms from brands and logos to company products, processes and services. Finding and protecting your company’s crown jewels is essential for maintaining your competitive edge in the world of business. The good news is that there are a variety of strategies to safeguard your IP and keep it from being taken, repurposed or misused.

While the costs of protecting your IP might seem expensive, it’s important to remember that protecting your intellectual property isn’t just about preventing thieves from taking your money. It’s about fostering a vibrant economy. According to Forbes, “The unauthorized use of inventions, creations or ideas by others is a threat to innovation and hurts the U.S. economy.”

There are a variety of ways you can ensure the security of your IP, starting with inventorying what makes your business unique and identifying which of those assets need the most protection. Then, you can create plans to protect these assets. This could include the registration of trademarks, copyrights, and patents, as well as signing non-disclosure agreements with employees.

It’s recommended to keep a detailed record of your intellectual property as it’s being developed and in production, particularly when it comes to inventions. This will help you prove that your ideas were original and provide the evidence required to prove the idea if an intellectual property dispute develops in the near future. It could be in the form of detailed drawings, technical details plans, descriptions, and records. It’s best to have these documents time-stamped to aid in establishing rights and providing evidence.

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