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How To Protect Your Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is an asset that is owned by your company, which can give you a differentiation and a competitive advantage in the marketplace. While some businesses are willing to recognize the role of intellectual property, many businesses fail to protect and improve their IP. Unlike physical property, intellectual property is an intangible asset and hence it is difficult to assign value on its worth. So, many businesses deal with it carelessly.

When it comes to dealing with your IP, you should try to protect it, so that no one will be able to steal what you have spent a lot of time and money to develop. Without the right kind of protection thats set in place, you would end up looking at someone else reaping the benefits of all the hard work you put into developing it in the first place. To prevent this, you can take some of the following steps:

#1 File Copyright

A copyright gives protection over an idea or content that was developed by the copyright holder. Copyright laws protect the creators of music, novels, movies, songs, architecture, and software. They are enforced by the government and the court of law, and are reliable.

In order to avail proper copyright protection, you will have to register it—registered copyright. When you register your intellectual information with the U.S. Copyright Office, it gives your intellectual property the proper protection that it deserves and it is recognized in a court of law, in case of any mishaps.

When you are the copyright holder of particular IP, you will be able to sue anyone who you think infringes your copyright. Therefore, a copyright gives you the ultimate say when you are looking to pursue legal action against those who might be using your IP without your permission for their own gain.

#2 File Patents

A patent provides property rights to the original inventor of a new invention. If you think your software has an unique feature that could be used to distinguish you from your competition, you will need a patent to protect it for competitive advantage in the long run.

When you have the patent, you have the exclusive rights to its usage for the mentioned period of time. You will be able to use this to your advantage in marketing and selling your product. You can also license your patent to other manufacturers and earn royalties from it when they use it.

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#3 Source Code Licenses

Speaking of licensing, when you use a source code license, you will be able to give a licensee a non-exclusive and non-transferable license to use your software; and in some cases permission to modify your licensed software. This could be considered a risky maneuver as you are letting the source code outside your organization.

Once it’s done, it is incredibly difficult to make sure that the source code doesn’t reach the hands of nefarious groups. This will weaken your ability to build and launch new features as competitors will be able to easily clone it when they have access to the source code.

In order to eliminate such issues, you can make use of a source code escrow, that will make sure that the rights of your software and related data is  protected. A source code escrow exists to protect all the stakeholders involved in  a software licensing agreement. This third party will hold all the software’s essential information and protect it until the terms mentioned in the licensing agreement.

Conclusion

I hope this article was useful for you to learn more about why it is important to protect your intellectual property and the various ways which you can use to make sure that your hard work stays exclusive to you.

If you have any doubts with regards to this, let us know through the comments and we will be glad to help you out. If you have any suggestions regarding how we can improve the article, let us know them through the comments as well for us to improve.

Do you have any other reservations against using a software escrow? Have you tried any other strategies and tools to make sure that a critical software for operation is not affected at any cost?

What is your opinion on the state of the industry when it comes to SaaS businesses? Do you think it’s stable enough for small companies to flourish?  Let us know through the comments.

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