- Identify Your Intellectual Property Assets. Even though you may not know what they are, intellectual property (IP) assets may be some of the most valuable things your company owns.
IP is creations you, your employees, or contractors thought up, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization, such as:
- Literary and artistic works
- Symbols, names, and images used in commerce
Patent, copyright, and trademark laws protect IP. If you’ve received legal protection for your logo, brand, or advertising phrase, it generally prohibits others from using it. It reduces the chances others will profit from your work by pretending to be your business, literally stealing customers.
Less well-known IP includes your customer lists, prospect lists, and marketing plans. This category of IP is called trade secrets. Like traditional IP, protecting your trade secrets has value because you’re less likely to suffer losses if others use it without your approval. If an employee leaves and takes your customer list with them to a competitor, it makes it easier for them to poach customers from you.
Along with your inventory of assets, whether that’s trucks, office furniture, machine tools, or computers, include your logo and marketing plans. Once you have that organized, take steps to prevent others from using them so you can maximize their value.
If you’re in Southern California and have questions about IP, how you can protect it, and what you can do if someone uses it without your permission, call attorney Tony Liu at (714) 415-2007 to schedule a free consultation.