Intellectual Property (IP) is your unique way to not only protect your patent or trademark rights but also a way to gain a competitive advantage over your competitors while creating new revenue opportunities. However, among many organizations the priority and procedures of protecting their IP has become antiquated. Outdated IP tools and processes can increase a company’s exposure to risk and result in missed opportunities. These three tips will help to protect you IP.
One: Understand the Chain of Success
Registering your IP isn’t enough: If I told you that all you had to do to secure your intellectual property was to file an application with the USPTO, you’d think that was terrific. But all too often, if it’s too good to be true, it is! While registering your patent or trademark is essential to ensure you’re the first to the finish line with your idea in hand (and now the US government agrees with you!), it’s only the first step in the chain of success. Once you’ve received your registration, it’s now time for you to begin protecting your IP.
Two: Monitor Your IP
You’ve received your patent or trademark. Now it’s time for you to protect it. Think of it this way, you’d never send your child to the bus stop on a snowy morning without a coat. IP is the same thing. Among your industry, there are hundreds of competitors vying for the same revenue opportunities you are. But, you have an edge on them, because you have IP that’s yours alone. Much like the coatless child at the bus stop, it’s your responsibility to insulate your idea from being stolen or infringed upon by your competitors.
A simple maintenance system of 8-10 hours a month helps to ensure that your competitors aren’t using your IP for their gain. Most companies never consider an investigator to assist in protecting their IP. Investigators can help protect you and your IP while you’re not even thinking about it. They work in the background to ensure you’re business opportunities are secure.
Three: Enforcing IP Violations
You’ve registered your patent or trademark. You’ve engaged an investigator for 8-10 hours a month to survey the competition and ensure no one is infringing on your IP, but now someone has infringed on your IP. What to do?
The majority of the time competitors won’t look to see if an idea is registered. They will simply venture out into the business waters and wait on someone to cry foul. Once an infringement on your IP has been located, investigators document the infringement in a report and send this back to you and your general counsel.
The easiest solution is to have your counsel send the infringer a cease and desist letter. This is a firm and informative way to alert them to their missteps and keeps them from continuing to profit from your IP. Should an investigator locate that a competitor has been profiting significantly from your IP, then it would be prudent for you and your general counsel to discuss a settlement to recoup some of the revenue opportunity you lost as a result of your competition using your IP.
To further discuss how an investigator can assist you in protecting your IP, please contact our offices at PHENIX Investigations.