In light of recent events regarding the China and US trade scuffle, it’s about time business owners took heed from the current climate of intellectual property. First off, what exactly is intellectual property? On the face of it, it sounds made up. Well this isn’t a recent phenomenon, intellectual property has been around since the dawn of business and trade. In a nutshell, it’s your ideas, products and services. Protecting against intellectual property theft is guarding your originality. Being unique and offering something other businesses don’t is a huge selling point. If everyone went around copying each other, not only would it plummet the economy but it would also destroy the will and passion to create businesses. There’s a fine line between stealing another person’s idea, and creating one that is similar. Small business owners especially need to know how to protect their intellectual property so their innovation is the spearhead to their growth.
If you make a product then here is why unique design and specific manufacturing techniques matter. For example, you make bomber jackets. Your unique selling point is that your bomber jackets are unique in design. They are contoured differently so they fit customers in a specific way. This could be to boost the shoulders, tighten hips, or flare the arms more. Whatever it is, you need to make subtle small design choices to give your product a unique look. You should be able to recognize your product compared to a similar looking jacket. This is why businesses make subtle markers on their products. It could be a small stitching pattern, it might be a unique curve or line, it might be specific material, it could be just totally unique measurements and size. Do something that makes your product different on a minute level.
Keep designs under lock and key
The research and development department has a heavy burden on its shoulders in any business. Here is where all the ideas and products emanate from. So here is where you need to keep all your designs safely hidden away. During the development of new ideas, you’ll not have a patent on the products just yet. So brand protection is of the highest importance as patent theft is sadly not so uncommon. If your blueprints have been stolen, shared online and or just physically taken out of the office, then you’ll need to take legal action. Other businesses that use your ideas and designs should be taken to court immediately. Make sure you have multiple copies and evidence to show how, where and when the ideas originated.
The walls have ears
If you know you have a world-beating idea, the last thing you’ll do is blab it out so everyone can hear it. Even when discussing your planned products with trusted employees, make sure to know your environment as even walls have ears.
Intellectual property theft is absolutely no laughing matter. It’s like someone stealing your unique mind. Nobody has the right to take your product designs and use them for themselves so take care of blueprints and sensitive information.
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