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Within a company or organization there are different types of valuable content that constitute Intellectual Property that may also be worth protecting. A combination of immaterial assets that are extremely valuable and, as such, at risk of being stolen, copied, or shared without permission. Hence, this is the reason why intellectual property protection should be a top priority for companies, especially those that create, produce or distribute valuable material such as eBooks, course materials or other educational content, training videos, market reports, standards documents, technical guides, manuals, financial documents, board materials, trade secrets, and more.
Understandably, it is sometimes confusing to determine which assets in your company constitute your intellectual property, or if there even are assets within your organization that can be deemed as intellectual property. You might consider, for example, that unless you are an artist sculpting or painting something, or in the tech industry developing new software or equipment, there is not any intellectual property in your company that needs to be protected. This is hardly the case, as you will quickly realize, your company possesses extremely valuable intellectual property, and failing to protect it could result in very serious consequences.
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property (IP) is best described as the varying set of intangible assets that are owned by any given company and that may or may not constitute a source of revenue for it. These intangible assets can range anywhere from patents, to trade secrets, to employee know-how, and evidently require a great deal of work and resources to be created.
If, for example, you are an educational content provider, your IP would be the courses and materials you create and distribute. You could also be a financial pricing company working hard to produce indexes, ratings, pricing assessments, reports, etc., or a data & market intelligence company compiling massive bodies of data and transforming them into guides for businesses and organizations to make informed decisions. In any of these cases, these creations take a significant amount of time and effort to make and, moreover, they are specific and unique to your company.
It is easier to think of intellectual property, then, as creations of the mind. It is the ideas that you and your team have worked hard to develop and that give you a competitive advantage when comparing yourself to others in your business. It is the products that you create and sell, but also the knowledge and know-how you have gained through your team’s efforts. Ultimately, IP is the lifeblood of your company and implementing various intellectual property protection measures is the life support that keeps it alive and well.
What are the Different Types of Intellectual Property?
Just as there are many different aspects of your business that can be considered intellectual property, there are different ways to protect them, or different “bundles of property rights” that can help protect them.
To make sure you are protecting valuable or sensitive information and safeguarding your company’s success, it is important to understand that different types of information or content requires different kinds of protection. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office categorizes the different types of property rights like this:
- Copyright, which prevents others from copying original content without permission
- Trademarks, which are used to protect all the elements that help build a brand’s image and set a business apart
- Patents, which allow inventors to take action against those who use, make, or sell their inventions without permission
- Industrial Designs, which allow creators to register the design of a product, preventing others from making, renting or selling an article that uses the same design.
Why Should You Protect Your Intellectual Property?
As we have explained, Intellectual Property is the lifeblood of your company. Everything you create, invent, or develop is a result of your team’s intellectual activity, their time, and your resources as a business. Moreover, these ideas and creations could be, in one way or another, the resources that generate the bulk of your revenue. In some instances it might even be your entire source of revenue.
Should this information fall in the hands of unauthorized users or competitors, your bottom line would surely be threatened. For this reason it is crucial that you recognize your IP as an extremely valuable asset and implementing intellectual property protection measures are key to protecting it. As explained by Marsh, categorizing Intellectual Property as an asset allows it to have the “same protective rights as physical property.” The risks of failing to protect your IP go far beyond your time and resources being wasted.
Neglecting to implement a system that safeguards your content and ideas can result in:
- Loss of revenue (and profit)
- Devaluation of your content and a waste of your content creators’, writers’, designers’, editors’, and marketing teams’ time and effort
- Competitors copying your creations
- Reputation damage.
Giving intellectual property rights and protection the importance it deserves ensures that its value within your company is maximized and prevents possible damages and losses. It sets you apart from your competition and situates your product and value as a company in your customers’ top choices.
Vitrium: The Solution for Protecting Your Digital Assets
When delving in the digital realm, however, copyright and intellectual property protection can become somewhat complicated and difficult to maintain if relying on “traditional” intellectual property rights methods. It is harder to ensure that The European Commission’s science and knowledge service has accurately stated that “[t]oday’s technologies allow perfect, inexpensive and unlimited copying and dissemination of content – legal or otherwise.”
Now more than ever it is extremely easy to copy and share digital content, putting companies at high risk for having their IP violated. Intellectual property rights, thus, need to be adapted to the digital world. In this regard, for those who provide their content in a digital format the need arises to adopt a solution that is specifically tailored for the purpose of protecting content that is digitized.
Vitrium Security was created exclusively for this. It is the solution that allows you to guarantee your intellectual property is thoroughly protected. Through the implementation of several digital rights management policies such as high-grade file encryption, device and IP address limits, different kinds of watermarks, and printing limitations, your intellectual property protection will be secure and, therefore, your revenue and reputation as a company intact.
Learn more about how Vitrium can help you with intellectual property protection. Book a free demo now!