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What are my options for protecting intellectual property?

If you own intellectual property, you should know how to protect it. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, intellectual property theft in this arena is a pervasive problem. The council reports that copyright infringement alone costs the U.S. economy $58 billion every year.

To prevent your business from incurring financial losses, you should first take stock of your intellectual property. STOPfakes.gov is a multi-agency effort by the federal government to help entrepreneurs and businesses prevent theft. The site reports that you should first determine the territories in which you need protection. For many, the threat of theft might only come from within the United States. However, some companies may find they need assistance with preserving assets from threats abroad as well.

There are three main ways you can protect your intellectual property, and those are the following: 

  •        Patents: These protect inventions and are secured through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  •        Trademarks: These protect symbols, words and other distinguishing items that set your goods or services apart from others.
  •        Copyrights: These protect original works of art, such as publications and musical works.

STOPfakes.gov reports that if you secure a copyright or trademark, you can register it with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to add further protection.

It is important to note that not all intellectual property may need this level of protection. You should consult with a professional to determine if the cost of the item is worth the benefit.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

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