For many small business owners, the key to success is often guarding their trade secrets so as to have an edge over competitors. There are many people who would try to take your idea and sell it as their own or use your strategies to build a competing business, which is why you need to take steps to protect your intellectual property so as to ensure the continued success of your business venture.
Here is a look at tips to protect trade secrets such as original business and marketing plans, pricing schemes, production techniques, research and other valuable information from theft or unwanted disclosure.
A good way to protect your intellectual property in business is to sign confidentiality agreements with any parties, be they suppliers, investors, employees or other who may be in a position to learn any proprietary information about your business. An intellectual property lawyer, like the ones at the Joseph E Mueth Law Office, can help you determine which parties could access confidential information so you can make them sign non-disclosure agreements that would bar them from sharing any exclusive ideas they get from you or run a competing business using your idea.
When licensing intellectual property to a third party, be sure to enter into a contractual agreement that specifies the extent to which that information can be used. Your lawyer can help with the drafting of a comprehensive contract and that states that you own the intellectual property and the rights to it.
Beef up security
In order to limit the ability of employees to share proprietary information about your business with competitors, you should establish measures to limit the flow of trade secrets. For instance, meticulously keeping confidential information under lock-and-key and limiting the photocopying of sensitive information within the business can prevent your trade secrets from falling into the wrong hands.
You can also prevent theft of trade secrets by allowing confidential information to be only handled by a limited number of authorized staff and installing security features such as key cards and security cameras to restrict access to areas where sensitive information is stored.
Departing employees should sign a non-compete agreement that would restrict their right to work for, or share proprietary information about your business with a direct competitor.
The above steps can help prevent copycats from taking your business idea and running with it. With the help of an intellectual property lawyer, you can safeguard your trade secrets and ensure your business retains its competitive edge.
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