In the modern business world, intellectual property (IP) is more important than ever. IP covers far more than mere ‘ideas’ or a ‘concepts’; it covers genuine business assets — assets that may be fundamental to the success of the company. Whether it is protecting the image of a brand, securing a copyright for important material, or obtaining a patent for an innovative product, companies must take proactive measures to protect their intellectual property. Here, our top-rated Chicago business lawyers provide four tips for business owners looking to protect their IP rights.
You cannot protect something unless you are actually aware it exists. This seems obvious enough, but many businesses fail to clearly identify and articulate exactly what they need to protect. All companies should take a basic inventory of their intellectual property.
When all relevant IP is identified, its value to the business must be ascertained. From trade secrets to trademarks, you need to know exactly what all of your IP is actually worth to your business. Valuable IP must be vigorously protected. On the other hand, it may not make financial sense to put much in the way of resources behind protecting IP that offers only limited value.
When it comes to protecting IP rights, businesses can benefit from acting quickly. In many areas of intellectual property law, the first company to take official action will be in a far better shape. This is true even if you are not legally required to act first to protect or establish intellectual property rights. For example, if your business created an innovative new product, patent eligibility should be explored. The first company to file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will be in the best position to be granted rights. While the U.S. technically has a ‘first-to-invent’ rule and not a ‘first-to-register’ rule, it is difficult — and often costly — to prove first invention if no patent was ever filed. Even in areas where official registration is not required — such as copyright law — it is highly recommended that you take proactive steps to protect intellectual property rights.
Finally, businesses need to react swiftly when their intellectual property rights have been or are actively being violated. Whether it is the unauthorized disclosure of a protected trade secret, violation of a copyright, or another company diluting the value of a brand or trademark, it is imperative that a business takes the proper steps to remediate the problem. Depending on the specific nature of your case, you may want to consult with a Chicago business attorney who has experience with intellectual property law issues. Your attorney can help you prepare a cease and desist letter if need be. From there, a lawyer will be able to take whatever action is necessary to protect the legal rights and financial interests of your business.
Contact Our Chicago, IL Business Law Attorneys Today
At North Suburban Legal Services LLC, our top-rated Chicago business lawyers have extensive experience representing and advising Illinois companies on matters related to intellectual property. To find out more about what we can do for you, please do not hesitate to reach out to our law office today at (312) 909-6089. We look forward to assisting you.