Protecting Your Intellectual Property: Cybersecurity Tips for Small Business Innovators

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

For today’s innovators, intellectual property (IP) is an invaluable asset, and we know how hard you've worked to create and develop your unique ideas. With cyber-attacks and data breaches becoming more frequent, it's essential to ensure your business's innovations are protected. That's why we've put together this guide with cybersecurity tips to help you safeguard your intellectual property and keep your small business thriving.

Get to Know the Different Types of Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names, and images used in commerce. Intellectual property is protected by law, and there are several types of IP that can be protected. Let's understand the various forms of intellectual property. This will help you determine what you need to protect:

  • Patents: A patent is a legal protection granted to an inventor for a limited time that prevents others from making, using, or selling the invention without permission. The invention must be novel, non-obvious, and useful to be eligible for a patent. Patents can be granted for a wide range of inventions, including machines, processes, chemicals, and designs.

  • Copyrights: These protect original works of authorship, like books, music, and software.

  • Trademarks: These are all about brand names, logos, slogans, and other symbols that distinguish your products or services.

  • Trade secrets: These protect confidential business information that gives your company a competitive edge.

  • Industrial design rights: Industrial design rights protect the visual design of objects that are not purely utilitarian.

Each type of intellectual property has its own set of legal requirements and protections. It is important for individuals and businesses to understand these differences in order to properly protect their intellectual property.

How To Safeguard Your IP

Discover and Prioritize Your IP Assets

To effectively safeguard your IP, identify and prioritize the assets that are most valuable to your business. Doing so will help you identify your most valuable assets and figure out the best ways to protect them. Here are a few easy-to-follow steps to guide you through this process:

  • Conduct an IP audit - Round up all the intellectual property assets that your business owns or has the rights to use. This includes patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and any other unique information. Don't forget to go over all your contracts, agreements, and licenses to make sure you're taking good care of your IP assets.

  • Determine the value of each asset - Once you've got your list of IP assets, it's time to determine the value of each one. You can do this by estimating the potential revenue an asset could bring in, the cost of developing or acquiring it, and the level of protection it has.

  • Prioritize the assets - Now that you know the value of each asset, it's time to decide which ones are most important to protect. Think about which assets are essential for your business's success, which ones might be most vulnerable to infringement, and which ones have the potential to generate the most revenue.

  • Create a protection plan - After pinpointing your most valuable IP assets, you'll want to develop a solid strategy for keeping them safe. This might involve filing for patents, registering trademarks, drafting confidentiality agreements, and implementing security measures to protect trade secrets.

Put Strong Access Controls in Place

Limit access to your IP assets by implementing strict access controls. Only grant access to employees who need it for their job functions, and regularly review access rights to ensure they're still relevant. Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of security.

Safeguard Your IP in Contracts and Agreements

Include clauses in your contracts and agreements that address the protection of your intellectual property. Make sure employees, contractors, and partners are aware of their responsibilities regarding IP protection and confidentiality. When sharing ideas with potential partners, investors, or others, use NDAs to protect your IP. An NDA can help ensure that confidential information stays confidential and provide you with legal recourse if the agreement is violated.

Team Up With the Pros

IP law can be tricky, so consider partnering with legal professionals who specialize in intellectual property. They can advise you on the best ways to protect your IP and create a strategy to prevent common mistakes that could lead to significant legal and financial consequences. Collaborate with legal and cybersecurity experts to create a comprehensive IP protection strategy. They can help you navigate complex IP laws and regulations and recommend the best cybersecurity practices for your specific industry.

As a small business owner, you know how much you count on your intellectual property like one-of-a-kind product designs, service offerings, and customer data to stay in the game and make a profit. But watch out – a cybersecurity breach could jeopardize all these assets and hit your bottom line pretty hard.

What's more, bouncing back from a cyberattack might be tough if you don't have the financial muscle, not to mention covering the legal costs to safeguard your IP rights if someone tries to steal them. A cybersecurity breach could drag you into pricey legal disputes to defend both your IP and your good name.

That's why it's super important for you to put your money into cybersecurity measures to shield your IP assets from theft, damage, or loss. Make sure you've got firewalls in place, antivirus software, data encryption, and don't forget to back up your data regularly to avoid losing it. On top of that, it's key to teach your employees about cybersecurity and set up some solid security policies and procedures for everyone to follow.

We understand that your intellectual property is what sets you apart and makes you unique. Protecting it is essential, and that's where we come in.

How Lockwell Protects Your Innovation

Lockwell uses cutting-edge AI technology to ensure your valuable IP stays safe and sound. We're like the digital bodyguard for your precious ideas and creations!

So, relax and focus on growing your business, knowing that we've got your back in keeping your IP safe. Remember, your digital safety is a right, not a luxury, and we're committed to providing you with the peace of mind you deserve.