You protect your intellectual property
 
Protecting a company’s intellectual property is becoming increasingly difficult due to the ease of capturing and sharing information using computer technology. Taking out patent protection in the territories you want to cover is the traditional approach and remains one of the best methods if the ideas being protected can justify the funds needed to establish and maintain the patent cover
Key Issues
·         Intellectual property is a legal entity dealing with creations of the mind and covers all aspects of innovation
·         Technical features embedded within a product or process can be protected by taking out a patent granted by a national government to prevent other people from exploiting the same ideas in this territory.
·         To obtain patent cover requires your company to demonstrate the novelty of your ideas through undertaking a number of searches and then making an application for the patent to be granted. This is a relatively long and expensive process, requiring the support of qualified patent officers
·         The cover lasts for a maximum of 20 years in the UK, provided the appropriate fees are paid to maintain it
·         Alternative legal protection can be obtained by registering the design, trade-marks and copyrights, as appropriate.
·         It is also important to take some simple, practical steps to protect your proprietary knowledge:
o      Ensure that employees and visitors sign confidentiality agreements
o      Decide in advance which manufacturing processes you will show to visitors
o      Take logos and nameplates off machines
o      Develop and build your own equipment for critical processes
o      Protect and carefully control access to your computer systems
o      Ensure that contracts of employment restrict employees from moving directly to your competitors
o      Review, at a senior level, all published information
o      Restrict technical information to people who need to know it.
·         Treat intellectual property as a primary business asset that must be protected
Factors for Success      
Factors to  Avoid
1.     High levels of security are in place on all computer and communication systems.
2.     A risk assessment has been undertaken and actions needed to increase protection have been established.
3.     Employees are aware of the risks to their jobs and future prosperity if security is relaxed.
4.     The appropriate patent cover has been obtained on your key technologies
5.     Your senior managers are accountable for security.
1.     Allowing strangers to see your facilities
2.     Permitting photographs to be taken of products or manufacturing equipment
3.     Showing visitors the complete process
4.     Publishing papers or articles that provide too much technical information
5.     Allowing people who plan to leave the company access to information
6.     Complacent management
Who does this apply to?
Senior management teams, employees working on new products
Realisable Benefits
Greater financial returns on your ideas, protection against inferior “me too” products

Guides:

Strategy and product innovationStrategy and product innovation

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Identifying knowledge and technologiesIdentifying knowledge and technologies

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Product introduction processProduct introduction process

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Product and manufacturing designProduct and manufacturing design

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Updating existing products and servicesUpdating existing products and services

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Product introduction programme measuresProduct introduction programme measures

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Intellectual propertyIntellectual property

Intellectual property