The manufacturing industry is an essential business for the infrastructure of the world as we know it. With all the information that a single manufacturing firm handles on a regular basis, it’s important to note what parts of the information are appropriate to share outside of the company. Let’s discuss the significance of this vital information and how to protect your Intellectual Property (IP).
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual Property covers a wide scope of innovative creations. Inventions, artistic works, and brand-specific designs and symbols are a few of the productions that can be considered IP. This may be a brand logo that your company created or new software designed by your expert engineers. The purpose of IP is to combine the innovators’ best interests with the public use of their product or service. Most companies choose to protect their IP to ensure that the financial and recognition benefits are given to the inventor or designer. In the manufacturing industry, protecting your property is essential to ensuring that your products and services are properly used and distributed within your set guidelines.
Types of Intellectual Property Protection
There are four main types of IP protection that can ensure the safety of your innovations. Read on to learn more about which protection fits your manufacturing IP needs.
Patents are an essential form of IP protection for manufacturing firms. This form of IP protection is used primarily for inventions such as machinery or software. Companies must apply for a patent through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for their information to be legally protected. Under this form of protection, other companies are prohibited under the law from using or distributing the Intellectual Property.
Like patents, trademarks protect a particular type of Intellectual Property. Trademark protection is a necessary method for the protection of words or symbols that are created for the use of a specified company. A designated slogan that your company uses to stand out from your competitors may be a piece of IP that a trademark can protect. Companies are not required to register for a trademark, but having a record of the protection can be beneficial in legal cases.
Copyright protection is a key way to ensure the safety of your authored ideas. In the realm of manufacturing, written content such as computer software or artistic work done with the intent to further advance the company should undergo the Intellectual Property procedure of acquiring copyright protection. With this form of protection, it’s important to note that any manufacturing IP created is automatically considered to have a copyright. However, it is a best practice to legally register your IP for manufacturing should your company need to take legal action.
While trade secrets do not require official registration, they are an essential part of protecting company information. Trade secrets are used to protect any information that is designed to increase a company’s advantage in the industry. Obtaining a trade secret is an Intellectual Property procedure that focuses primarily on the actions of the owner. If a company is taking necessary steps to protect specific information, they can consider that information a trade secret and pursue legal action against any individual who steals the IP.
Tips for Protecting Intellectual Property
While legal protection is an integral part of protecting your information, there are other Intellectual Property procedures and strategies that can further aid in keeping your IP confidential.
Reshore Your Resources
Having your resources located within your primary headquarters is an advantageous step in protecting your IP in the manufacturing industry. With your IP in one location, you are better able to protect and utilize your information for further innovations and growth.
Log Your IP
Consider maintaining a running log of your manufacturing IP. Knowing what is currently in use and should not be shared widely is a vital step in protecting your information. As the IP is shared amongst company professionals, track where it is being sent and who is receiving the information so you have a record in the case of necessary legal action. Selecting a designated owner of the IP can be an excellent source for sustaining the log.
When it comes time to share your Intellectual Property with others, be mindful of who is being relayed the information. If possible, share the information with only essential professionals. The fewer individuals working with your IP, the less likely it is that the information will be potentially distributed to competitors.
Build Your Trusted Team with TruPath
A crucial step in maintaining the integrity of your Intellectual Property is to build a team of trusted individuals. The reassurance of having a team that knows how to protect Intellectual Property can relieve some of the stress that comes with managing IP. TruPath has the ability to connect you with trustworthy candidates that are screened and prepared to handle your IP. Schedule a consultation with our executive search specialists to learn more about recruiting exceptional professionals to your team.