Approaching certain business-related risks with a proactive mindset can save your company a great deal of time and resources down the road. One of the most sensitive and complex areas of business-related law that gives rise to a significant risk of liability when not approached proactively involves intellectual property.
If your company hasn’t yet constructed a comprehensive intellectual property safeguard strategy, it is important to invest some energy and effort into making this goal a reality. Without this kind of planning in place, your company will remain vulnerable both to having its intellectual property rights infringed upon and to being accused of infringing upon the rights of others. Given the uniquely valuable nature of novel intellectual property, such scenarios can quickly escalate into litigation matters.
The value of intellectual property
Corporate intellectual property generally derives its value from both its novelty and its ability to position a company for success in the marketplace. There are four primary kinds of safeguards that are employed to protect a company’s intellectual property:
- Non-disclosure agreements
Companies must apply for a patent from the government when they wish to protect a novel invention or invention design that is useful and reproducible. Companies formally register trademarks and copyrights when they desire to protect original works of authorship and marketing/branding resources. Non-disclosure agreements are contracts negotiated by companies and their attorneys. These contracts, which do not require government approval, help to ensure that a company’s trade secrets remain under wraps.
If your company doesn’t proactively obtain these safeguards, others could accuse you of violating their rights and others could infringe upon your company’s rights. In either scenario, the risk of litigation can be mitigated significantly simply by proactively obtaining legally-enforceable intellectual property protections before any infringement scenarios have the opportunity to get out of hand.