To make the most of your business portfolio, you need to be able to leverage trades of your intellectual property, or IP. Trading your non-essential IP for products that will increase your bottom line is the best way to improve your own portfolio. However, in order to maintain control over your own IP – and prevent sabotage – you have to be able to protect your IP. Here are three ways to protect your company IP, and ensure that it goes public when you want it to – and not before.
Identify All Your IP
If you own a company, you probably have secrets that you wish to keep from your competitors. Those trade secrets are necessary for the prosperity of your business. Your IP, or intellectual property, is also important. If you don't know what your IP is – such as you have a separate department that generates IP – you need to familiarize yourself with it. You can't protect what you don't know you own. Take the time to identify and label each piece of IP your company owns. This will help you identify any potential theft of your IP.
Utilize Confidentiality Agreements with Your Employees
If you have employees handling your IP, it's important that you hold them accountable for the way they handle that information. Confidentiality agreements allow you to hold your employees accountable for any breaches that might occur as a result of their mishandling of privileged information regarding your IP or other trade secrets.
Once you have confidentiality agreements in place, you should sit down with your employees once a year and go over the information included in the agreement. This will ensure that your employees remain up-to-date on the agreement they signed. Your confidentiality agreement should include a clause that prohibits employees from divulging information about your IP should they seek employment elsewhere.
Limit Disclosure to Third Parties
When it comes to your business IP trading, third party disclosures can spell disaster – especially if the information is disclosed to the wrong parties. Before you share your IP or trade secrets with a third party, be sure you have them sign a non-disclosure agreement. The non-disclosure agreement – or NDA is similar to the confidentiality agreement you'll have your employees sign. This agreement will prevent third parties from discussing any information they learn about your company IP.
Intellectual properties are a valuable part of your business assets. The information provided here will help you protect your IP and trade secrets.