Commitment, Compassion And Professionalism

3 ways to protect your intellectual property from theft

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2024 | Business & Commercial Litigation

These days, it’s very rare for a business to operate without the help of independent contractors and outside services, whether they’re providing technical support in the IT department, working on special projects or promoting the company’s products through social media.

That makes it increasingly important for companies to be aware of the possibility of intellectual property (IP) theft by the contractors and services they hire. Here are three strategies that can be useful:

1. Comprehensive contracts

Intellectual property clauses should be in every contract you have with your outside (and inside) workers. Make sure that the contracts clearly define your IP rights and ownership. You should also require all independent contractors or outside companies that you do business with to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that definitively outline their obligation to any proprietary information they learn – from client lists to innovations that have yet to be launched – confidential.

2. Keep watch on activity

People are a lot more cautious about their activities when they know a company is serious about its security and they are being watched. Grant contractors access only to the information and systems that are necessary for their work, and conduct regular audits to monitor who is accessing what information to look for unusual or unauthorized activity.

3. Invest in data security

Make sure that bad actors aren’t able to access your IP information through your contractor’s lax security by ramping up the encryption used on your end. Make sure that you communicate with your contractors on encrypted platforms and use multi-factor authentication processes to protect IP that needs to be accessed remotely.

IP theft or misuse is one of the most common reasons for litigation. If your business has been damaged because someone took liberties with your intellectual property, it may be time to seek tailored legal guidance.