Did you know that about 3.3% of global trade comprises fake goods? This is according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Unfortunately, this trend continues to rise and intellectual property(IP) pirates have increasingly become a threat to businesses. How do you navigate through the unfavorable business environment as you launch your new product or creative work?
In this post, you’ll discover common threats to IP and infallible tips to develop a solid anti-piracy strategy to keep your business secrets secure.
The main types of IP include patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and trademarks. If you own any of these assets, you get exclusive rights to produce products for a specified time thus allowing you to earn substantial returns. Unfortunately, IP rights face threats from within and without the business.
For instance, patent infringement is a common threat that you are likely to face whether you are a startup or an established business. Individuals can infringe your patents and beat you in business if you don’t follow due process when registering your IP rights. You may also fall victim to Non-practising Entities (NPEs), commonly referred to as Patent trolls.
Brand impersonation is another threat that can damage the reputation of your business. Criminals can use your trademarks and logos to trick unsuspecting clients into divulging personal information. Moreover, trade secret thieves can target your employees and entice them with bribes to get them to reveal the secrets that make your business unique. If you are into the creative and literary business, you cannot wish away the threat of copyright piracy.
Below are quick anti-piracy tips to help you protect your IP rights.
One problem most inventors make when they have new ideas is going public without registering their patents. It’s understandable that as a startup you could be cash-strapped and would rather spend any available funds on product development. Nevertheless, securing patents will give your business more leverage when sourcing funds. Therefore, avoid going public about your idea until you file for a patent.
As you file your IP for protection, remember to do a thorough search to be 100% sure that it is unique. You don’t want to infringe on other people’s rights. One way to perform an effective online search is using a Google Scraper API by SERPMaster. This tool helps you determine whether there are any trademarks, images, names, and patents similar to your idea. You could also use such a tool post-registration to catch IP thieves.
In addition to using scraper API in your anti-piracy strategy, seek advice from seasoned IP lawyers. These professionals will help you to navigate the delicate world of patent infringement, especially when dealing with NPEs. Statistics show that 55% of IP infringement suits filed by Patent trolls target small businesses. Although it is easy for these entities to force you to bow to their pressure, you can still fight back and win, especially with the help of a qualified IP attorney. They can help you assess your patent compliance risk and avoid expensive penalties.
Another strategy is to join organizations such as LOT Network that protect businesses from litigation by Patent trolls while helping them preserve their patents. Consider using online resources such as Trolling Effects. Here, you can collaborate with individuals facing similar legal suits from NPEs. NPEs may pose a real threat to your business when working alone. But when you join forces with like-minded entrepreneurs, you increase your chances of winning the anti-piracy war.
Trade secrets are not easy to keep, especially when you have pirates who are determined to get them. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot succeed in protecting the lifeline of your business. For starters, have an anti-piracy policy that includes non-disclosure agreements with your employees. Let them know what information you consider to be a trade secret. You can incorporate consequence management clauses which include legal suits in case of violation.
But don’t trust that your employees will keep mum about your secrets. Take precautionary measures and only divulge critical information to people who need it. Additionally, work with separate teams. This way, none can build your end product from scratch to finish without the input of the other groups.
Treat your employees, especially your research and development teams, fairly. These individuals are the lifeline of your business. It is to your advantage when these individuals owe their allegiance to your company. Strive to cultivate employee loyalty by providing them with the right tools for work, creating growth opportunities, and offering excellent compensation. You can offer partnership opportunities, especially to highly talented individuals.
Developing an excellent anti-piracy strategy requires a multi-faceted approach. For instance, you will need to invest in legal talent, piracy detection/anti-counterfeiting technology, and your employees. You will also need to collaborate with fellow entrepreneurs in your niche to fight against Patent trolls.