A business’s intellectual property is one of its most important aspects. Intellectual property (“IP”) is an original idea or product created by your business. In today’s information age, it can be easier than ever to find yourself entrenched in a legal battle over IP. That’s why it’s more important than ever to defend a new business idea as soon as it is created.

It may seem like an unnecessary step, after all you don’t expect a new idea to be poached before you can act on it. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what can happen. Companies need to be aggressive in defending their intellectual property. This can include creating a comprehensive plan for copyrights, trademarks and licensing agreements.

It’s easy now for someone to steal an idea or business plan. Information is readily accessible and careless internet habits or unprotected email passwords can expose company secrets. Risk can also come from an internal threat.

Consequently, it’s important to be proactive with new intellectual property. These steps can help your business defend a new IP:

Create a plan

Understand what aspects of the new idea need to be protected. Is there a state or federal license you need to procure? Should you protect it as a trade secret? Does it have copyright protections? All of these require different approaches and different protections. You need to either research what protections are available for your specific circumstances, or retain a law firm with expertise in IP law.

Anticipate duplicates

It’s much easier to defend a protected piece of intellectual property than to take steps to defend after the fact. Even though IP laws can be confusing, it’s much better to take steps to defend a new idea before facing any issues.

Create and enforce strong non-disclosure agreements

A strong non-disclosure agreement doesn’t mean you don’t trust your employees. Instead, it’s a proactive step taken to protect a new idea. Employees change positions and jobs all the time, and they can take confidential information with them. Don’t let another company benefit from your hard work.

These are just a few steps a company can take to protect new intellectual property. A forward-thinking approach is always better than having to react to attacks on business ideas. If you’re considering taking steps to protect your intellectual property, an aggressive business attorney can help determine the best course of action.