In today’s digital age, intellectual property is threatened more than ever. Across the Internet, business ideas and concepts are at increased risk of threat from hackers and other unscrupulous types. While business owners are familiar with protecting their physical property and their assets, many may not realize the value of protecting their intellectual property as well. Even companies that deal in products rather than ideas likely own intellectual property that needs to be safeguarded. After all, many of the products we enjoy and rely on today came about through conceptualization of someone’s great ideas. It is those core concepts and the associated technology that both entrepreneurs and established companies need to protect.
Even the most successful enterprise might not have a clear idea of precisely what intellectual property comprises. Fortunately, it is not difficult to understand. Intellectual property exists in two categories: industrial property and copyright or artistic property. The industrial category typically includes inventions, industrial designs, trademarked technology and similar concepts. The second category includes written works, images, art, broadcast programs, scientific publications and much more. Essentially, almost any business-related concept or any type of inside information could represent intellectual property, even notes jotted on a napkin at a business lunch. If it originates from an individual, company, organization or other entity, the property could be at risk. Some of the common types of intellectual property the unscrupulous might target include patents, trademarks and copyrights.
The FBI’s website contains a lot of information about how intellectual property might be at risk. It may surprise many to learn that some foreign nations may even engage in the theft of such property. With so much data streaming across the globe, it behooves all contemporary organizations to consider the following entities as viable threats to intellectual property:
Of course, contacting law enforcement is a critical step if a threat is suspected or if it has already occurred. Another option is to speak with an attorney who has experience and knowledge about intellectual property protection. However, the best thing a person or company can do is to put preventive measures in place before a threat even exists. By taking a proactive approach early in the business, it is possible to avoid such threats altogether. This kind of approach can include frequent reviews of security measures, avoid sharing elements of trade secrets across the Internet, use firewalls and other security software, implement security policies and train all personnel accordingly. Administrators and top-level staff members should also take care to safeguard all computer hardware and devices that may contain data such as laptops and tablets.
The possible theft of intellectual property is frightening, but you can set your mind at ease by taking security seriously. If you need help identifying and safeguarding your company’s trade secrets and concepts, consider speaking with a skilled intellectual property attorney who can work with you to apply the stringent protection you need to keep your intellectual property safe.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified intellectual property lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local intellectual property attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.