Your intellectual property is the foundation of your company. If you have proprietary information, a unique product, invention or copyrighted material, you have to protect it. Patents and copyrights only go so far if someone steals your plans before you can protect them.
Inventors are the ones who make our lives easier by coming up with solutions to problems or creative ideas that make our lives easier. Some of our greatest Americans were inventors – Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell. These guys didn’t have to worry about someone hacking into their computer and stealing their inventions.
Modern day inventors, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates made it possible to share our information over the Internet, but that comes with risks.
If you are an inventor, you will probably do anything you can to protect your intellectual property. Yesterday we talked about the recent Verizon Data Breach Report 2013. They found that China is responsible for the majority of industrial espionage data breaches which target intellectual information and trade secrets.
We all know that China can make products for a fraction of the price and that they will take a fine American product, knock it off and sell billions.
You can protect your invention with patents, but that takes time. Maybe you don’t have a patent yet. If you are still in the development process, you may be sharing information with colleagues via email or paper documents. Paper is the least secure way to protect your invention. Sure, you will have drawings and all kinds of diagrams on paper, but you should also be saving those in a secure content management system in the cloud.
If you are sending your ideas around to companies for a licensing deal, you also have to protect your intellectual property. Many inventors now use Crowdfunding to obtain financing. This requires you to share information with potential investors, and this could lead to leaks of your proprietary data.You should have a non-disclosure agreement to protect your information.
Intellectual property can also include creative works, such as music, art and literature. Many people post their art online and when you do so, anyone can scoop up your work. Maybe you want to share your work, but you should always keep a copy of the original in a secure content management system. In fact, you should email it to yourself using secure email, so you have further proof that you created this work.
If you have been the victim of intellectual property theft, the FBI can help you. They investigate intellectual property theft, trademark theft, counterfeit goods and copyright infringement cases on a global level.
To be really successful in business, you have to operate on a global level. A U.S. patent isn’t going to protect your invention in another country. You can apply for patents in other parts of the world, but if you really want to protect you invention, you need to make sure that all those wonderful ideas are stored in a safe location in the cloud. You’ll be able to prove ownership and when you are pitching your idea to those oversea investors, you will be able to access that information from anywhere.