Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind or intellect that can be legally owned. It is a productive new idea that you create and wish to protect against duplication.
Ideas and unique creations can exist in every business. They're important for long term financial success and can make you more competitive than your competitors. But how do you stop competitors from copying your valuable assets?
The key is not to talk about your idea or make your IP public knowledge before you have protected it.
To protect your intellectual property, you should:
- register it as a patent, trade mark, design, copyright or other type of IP.
- keep your idea to yourself and trusted employees or advisors, and have them sign non-disclosure agreements
- keep all records of how you created and developed the idea.
However, you may not be able to “own” your IP if it’s similar to that of another business. It’s important to search existing trademarks, designs and patents to ensure your idea is unique.
has more information about registering and protecting your IP