Intellectual Property (IP) US

We all have heard the term Intellectual Property (IP) for quite a lot of time; however, do we know how exactly it is defined or applied to a business? So, let’s get started with knowing everything about IP along with its importance for business companies, and ways of strategically building a strong IP portfolio for protecting every business’ IP.


The term Intellectual Property refers to the intangible creations of the human mind or the assets owned, including literary creations, unique designs, artistic works, names, symbols, and inventions. Every business company or firm across the globe owns these intangible assets in the form of IP that must be well-protected. With the registration of their unique creations, the companies have certain Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), which further protect their core business activities and help them in carrying out the process of research and development. These rights also give them an upper hand when it comes to negotiating for licensing and counterclaims. The protection of your business firm’s entity is just one of the many benefits that come from registering your IP. Counted as an asset, IP builds the value of a company and maintains its goodwill in the present highly competitive business environment.

So, let’s now make ourselves familiar with a few ways using which you can protect your business’ IP in the United States.

  1. In today’s era, every business should start early by identifying its most valuable assets and determining the best ways of protecting them. In general, there are four forms of Intellectual Property Protection, namely trademark, copyright, patent, and trade secret. A trademark protects the company logos, names, and taglines. A patent is granted for a unique innovation, invention, or a new composition or process invented by a company. Copyright extends protection to the creative expressions and works of authorship, including artwork and designs. Trade secrets are the highly guarded company secrets having an immense commercial value.
  2. Once you have completed identifying your IP assets, the next step involves going ahead with their registration process. For instance – if you wish to protect your company’s logo, you must register it as a trademark. However, it is essential to conduct a preliminary search on Google and databases like USPTO before moving towards the registration process to see whether the trademark already exists or not and to prevent yourself from the high expenses of the related lawsuits. If it doesn’t exist anywhere, then you can file a federal Trademark Application. In the case of Patent Registration, thorough Patent Search, assessing the market value of the invention, and involving an experienced patent attorney before filing the Patent Application, are a few aspects that should be kept in mind. If you have some information that can’t be patented, then you can consider keeping it as a trade secret. Although a trade secret never expires and is less costly, it should be highly-guarded and shared only with the closest business partners or members.
  3. Every other business firm or company must enter into agreements like signing the non-disclosure agreements or contracts with the contractors before the commencement of work to have a provision for confidentiality. Such contracts should make sure that the IP Rights are adequately assigned for safeguarding the work done.
  4. Keeping an eye on your competitors as a part of intellectual property protection is an exceedingly crucial step. Monitoring the market and watching out on your arch-rivals is essential to ensure that there isn’t any unauthorized use of your assets, leading to Intellectual Property Infringement. It is a matter of fact that yes – even after registering your IP, people can still claim your rights, both intentionally and unintentionally. Hence, keeping yourselves aware of what your competitors are doing requires due attention.
  5. Without any second thoughts, the process of IP protection always starts with keeping a secret. During the early stages, it is highly advisable to protect your ideas by having tight controls, for instance, you can consider opting for organizational, physical, and technical measures like encryption, IP policies, access restrictions, and staff training.
  6. In case you encounter an intellectual property lawsuit or dispute, having thorough documentation of your innovations shall help you in protecting your business by preventing any third-party claims. As the evidence and ownership proof of your IP, documentation increases the chances of your business having a positive outcome in the lawsuit filed.