Protecting your intellectual property has always been important but in the context of our knowledge-based economy intellectual assets are more important than ever. The basic principles of organizing and managing intellectual property are pretty the same; nonetheless, the current digital environment demands even more in terms of consistent archiving of all your patents, innovations, and know-how should an argument about the respective IP rights arise.
Any business should consider archiving their business-critical intellectual property, especially when digital assets such as software apps or innovative processes and procedures are concerned. You can start by creating a simple table of your IP properties and check all the required steps you must take to secure ownership of your IP rights and mitigate risks associated with infringement of copyright.
Any Contract Includes a Sort of IP Rights
Actually, any business contract covers a sort of intellectual property. Those may include subject matters such as technology, software, work of authorship, data, product, method, test, encryption key, password or any other asset of yours. You definitely must protect such intellectual assets and that is where intellectual archive services come of help. Disputes among business partners are common and even more disputes about copyright arise between competitors. So you must be prepared in advance for occurrence of such disputes by opting for an IP archive service by an unbiased third party.
The good news is that you can store basically any type of intellectual property with an IP archive. You can store your intellectual property using different storage methods and update your materials as your project or idea evolves. Usually, companies archive documents, drawings, electronic databases, software source code, samples or prototypes, but you can archive any type of materials you have in place.
As the Society of American Archivists (SAA) says in one of their guideline documents, basic legislation and principles of IP property management should embrace “…responsible use of intellectual properties, promotes the free exchange of ideas, and protects the economic interests of copyright holders.” This, however, does not mean you should take your copyrights for granted. Inclusion of an IP protection clause is mandatory for any business contract while using IP archive service enables continuous IP protection.
IP Legislations May Contradict with Each Other
The SAA’s document also says, “Copyright laws should encourage enhanced ease of compliance rather than increasingly punitive enforcement measures.” This is only a statement about how legislation in the field of intellectual property rights should act, though. It has no force from legislative point of view and you should also bear in mind that IP legislation may differ significantly from country to country.
By archiving your intellectual property, you get protection for both your patentable and non-patentable work and you can claim IP ownerships all over the world. Patenting your work is a good method to protect against someone else using your innovations but it may not work in case of software development, for instance. Software is basically a set of instructions for a machine to process and produce certain outcomes. These very outcomes, however, can be achieved using different programming code and different instructions. So you need you work protected in progress – while you develop your software source code – to have practical evidence how your final product has evolved over time.
Thus, you get IP protection regardless of the jurisdiction and even in case a competitor is infringing your copyright by applying a different set of machine instructions. A similar approach to IP archiving is suitable also for manufacturers where a small tweak of a machine part can produce massive cost savings while such tweaks are mostly non-patentable yet subject to exclusive rights.
Beyond Protection of Ideas
Close to 300,000 patents have been filled only with the European Patent Office in 2016. These patents represent a lot of ideas businesses want to apply in manufacturing and service delivery activities. Protecting your ideas at an early stage is a good overall strategy to secure copyright over your basic inventions, innovative processes or disruptive technology.
Any product, however, is a work in progress. By using IP archiving service you get a solution to save your work in progress – not only the original idea, which you may also patent, but all accompanying work as well as prototypes you are not using in practice but may well use in the future. Protecting your business ideas is vital while protecting materials pertaining to future growth is also of utmost importance.
You may, for instance, grant patents for a certain technology and benefit from the royalties you collect. But, if accompanying technology or processes are not well documented and stored in safe place, you can end up with an outdated patent whose core principles have been pushed further by companies who build on your patented work. That is why it pays off to store and archive all your works pertaining to a good business idea – from initial drawings to prototypes to source code.
Documenting the evolution of a business idea is a tool to protect your copyright before any court and in any dispute concerning intellectual property. The very IP archiving service is quite similar to a source code escrow service but it goes beyond that by providing the means to document the progress of every piece of intellectual property you may have.