Staying competitive in the marketplace typically requires business owners to be aggressive in the creation of new ideas, services, and products. However, unless business owners are just as aggressive when it comes to protecting these things, they could find themselves without the competitive edge they need to be successful.
This is especially true for business owners in California, where technology, design, and innovation are at a premium. In order to protect your business and its intellectual property - including images, inventions, literary works, symbols, designs, and names - you will want to take steps to shield it from misuse and unauthorized access from the following three parties.
- Former employees: When an employee leaves your company, you do not want him or her take confidential information or trade secrets. Prevent this by requesting that employees with access to sensitive information sign confidentiality agreements.
- Competitors: To prevent other parties, including competitors, from using creative works developed by your company, secure necessary patents, trademarks and/or copyrights. This allows you to not only establish ownership of the work but also to take action against any party who uses it without permission.
- Trolls and scammers: Conversely, if you are unfairly accused of violating intellectual property rights by someone who launches baseless lawsuits for monetary gain, then you could be the target of a scammer or patent troll. In these situations, it is crucial to consult an attorney to advise you and protect your rights.
Each of these parties has the potential to cause great damage to your business and future success. To prevent this from happening, or to take action if it has already happened, discuss intellectual property protection laws in California with a reputable attorney.