Intellectual property refers to intangible items that you create or compose, including logos, designs, processes, formulas, music, stories, and the like. Protecting your intellectual property can be a challenge as it's very easy to copy someone's ideas and creations and call them your own. However, this doesn't mean that those with intellectual property are without protection; note a few tips for keeping your ideas and creation safe no matter your industry.
1. Use contracts for everyone
When you hire new employees or contractors, or take on new business partners, you want to ensure that they all sign contracts that state that your intellectual property is protected. It's good to have the contract worded by an attorney who specializes in your area of intellectual property, such as design and engineering versus storytelling or composing music. The contract can ensure that you own anything they may create while working for you and may also include a non-compete clause, stating that they cannot open their own business or work for a competitor within a certain timeframe after leaving your company. Keeping these things confidential can also be part of that contract, so they don't share these ideas of yours with anyone else either.
2. Be sure you don't copy someone else's work
Even if you know your work is completely original, if it's very similar to someone else's creation, you could be accused of intellectual property theft and may need to give up the rights to your work. To protect your work, it's vital that you thoroughly research all other patents, copyrights, and other such legal filings for work similar to yours. An intellectual property attorney can help you with this search and also advise you if they think that your work is very similar and may be in danger of being considered a violation itself.
3. Protect your property as it's developed
Don't assume that you need to completely finish a design, story, piece of music, engineering drawing, and other such work before you can register it and have it protected. Intellectual property can include formulas and designs that are still in their working stages, and items like stories or music are often edited or "polished" before they're released. An intellectual property attorney can tell you the best stages at which you want to protect your design and then also if you should file for additional protection once the work is completed or otherwise edited. This will ensure that your property is protected even before it's actually ready for the market.
Welcome! My name is Jessica, and I work as a legal aid secretary. I am in awe of the lawyers in my office and the variety of cases they cover. From injury compensation to family court matters, they need to understand the law in a broad range of areas. As a legal secretary, it is often my job to research particular points of law or find certain cases for reference. It is a fascinating job and I work hard to keep up with the constant changes to our laws and legal processes. Friends and family often ask me for direction on legal matters and whilst I explain that I am no expert, I usually manage to provide sound advice. This blog is for people who share my passion for the law or who want to understand more about our legal system. I hope you find it engaging and useful.