The internet is a great place to expand your business and connect better with customers. Some companies operate solely online while others may use an online presence to boost their brick and mortar business. Regardless of how a business operates in regards to the internet, if it has anything online, then it is essential for the business owner to understand how to protect the company's intellectual property.
The nature of the internet makes it very simple for someone to take IP and use it as his or her own. The best way to ensure a business protects its interests is to take proactive steps when first putting any intellectual property online. Forbes notes that all legal protections, such as patents, should be secured before releasing to the public online. To protect written works, copyrights should be registered and the copyright symbol should be used, along with notices about copyrights. The same should be done for trademarks.
One thing for business owners to be aware of is the territorial nature of intellectual property rights, according to the International Trade Administration. Rights, such as copyrights, patents and trademarks, are only extended in the country in which the registration is filed. Basically, this means if a business owner files for patent protection in the United States, the patent only protects his or her invention in the U.S. To ensure full protection, an owner needs to file for IP protection in various countries.
It is impossible, if not incredibly difficult, to file for protection in every country where internet visitors may be from. An owner should consider website traffic, typical users and needs when deciding from which countries to secure protection.