This is how you can protect your online intellectual property

For tech companies, intellectual property is their lifeblood. Here Waterfront Solicitors shares how firms can protect their IP

intellectualproperty

If you have intellectual property of any sort, it pays to protect rather than come to regret not taking action later. Startup companies usually have an array of ideas, logos and content to protect, but many don’t get round to protecting it until it is too late. Without the right protection in place, someone can easily take your IP from you, with no form of redress available.

To hit the ground running you can get in touch with IP solicitors and IP lawyers right away to enjoy robust legal support and advice from the outset. Such professionals can tell you whether a trademark application is worth making or what to do if trademark infringement takes place, and can even advise you in patents too. When you have a trained professional to turn to with all your queries about intellectual property and patents, your life can become a whole lot easier.

Also Read: Singapore needs IP awareness in 3D printing: William Hooi

Benefit from expertise
Technology lawyers are highly sought after today due to the vast amount of online startups that are emerging. Though the arena of intellectual property can seem complex and vast, the right experts can guide you through it, protect your property and prevent you from unwittingly infringing someone else’s IP rights yourselves. As laws do vary from territory to territory, they can help you to stay within the law and protect your content both in and outside of your region.

Clearing up confusion
When you’re collaborating with other people, it can be hard to establish who owns an idea. An IP lawyer can help you to draw up legally-binding contracts that leave no ambiguity around this area such as ownership agreements. If you’re working on something with someone in secret, you may benefit from non-disclosure agreements to prevent your ideas being stolen.

A patent attorney might come in handy too and can help you to successfully apply for a patent, whilst preventing you from wasting money on an unsuccessful attempt at protecting an idea. No matter how original an idea is, if someone finds out about it and you haven’t protected it, they can make a fortune from your work, perfectly legally.

Patents and trademarks
Most innovators apply for provisional patent applications whilst an idea is being worked upon. These are more affordable than full patents and give you temporary protection during the development stages. If you do require in-depth advice about your innovation, service or product, you may well wish to get in touch with technology solicitors at the earliest opportunity.

IP lawyers can also help you to register a trademark. Your trademark can be one of your most valuable assets and ensures that customers can recognise you right away. There are rules about what is and what isn’t eligible to be a trademark, but an experienced trademark attorney can help you in this area, and help you to form a convincing trademark application. They will be able to find out whether your idea is too similar to someone else’s and can stop you going ahead with something that won’t be successful but will still cost you money.

How many patents?
When it comes to patent infringement, it’s worth remembering that any successful application only covers you for the relevant area. This means that you may need to apply for multiple patents depending upon how much protection you are looking for. Patents can be extremely valuable and many huge multinational companies have purchased others on the basis of their patent portfolios alone.

Again, the patent world can be complex so unless you’re an expert on the law, it’s best to get a professional in to help. As you may be working with your chosen professional for quite some time, on a number of projects, it’s wise to ensure that you’ll be collaborating with someone you can trust. Shop around before settling upon an IP lawyer, patent attorney or technology solicitor.

Licencing out an idea
Patents even give you the right to licence out the manufacture and sale of your product to other companies if you wish to do so, generating a great deal of revenue in the process. You still benefit from full protection against infringement when you do this and could use the money to work on further innovations.

Protecting online content
With more and more of us posting our creative content online, it makes sense that copyright has become such a talked-about topic over recent years. There are many ways to protect your online intellectual property, and you can even seek redress without having to take drastic action. Steps that you can take to deter others from reproducing your content include adding a copyright notice to your work and outlining what others can and cannot do without your permission. Content is always likely to be reposted online, especially if it is informative and useful, which means that many content creators take reproduction as a complement.

Also Read: Should sponsors own IP rights to hackathon outputs?

Do you need to take action?
If you are still not happy with others reposting your work, you can get in touch with the webmaster to request that they remove it. It’s a good idea to do this politely at first as this will usually result in the content being taken down. If they refuse to comply, you can contact them again and demand it, stating that they have violated your copyright. The next step is to get in touch with the hosting service and if this still doesn’t work, you can get an IP lawyer on the case.

It’s wise only to take this action if you feel that the violation has impacted on you severely. You will have to decide whether the resources attached to taking this action fit the infringement that has been committed. As long as you are being credited for the work, the extra exposure may in fact be beneficial. If your material has only been reposted in such a way on a few occasions, legal action may seem unnecessary, but if infringement becomes a malicious, common and harmful event, taking further action may be crucial.

The views expressed are of the author, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them.

e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested to share your point of view, please send us an email to writers[at]e27[dot]co.

Image Credit: gst/Shutterstock

Waterfront Solicitors

Waterfront Solicitors LLP is a London based law firm with a highly qualified team of solicitors specialising in intellectual property, technology, corporate and employment law.

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