For a modern tech start-up, is anything as important as intellectual property? The idea is the company. It’s what sets the business apart and sets it up for success.

For a tech start-up, though, there is also great risk. The internet makes it easier than ever to steal intellectual property. What can owners do to protect themselves? Here are a few tips:

  • If you are employed before launching your company, do not work on the new idea at your current place of employment. Only work on it on your own time, using personal equipment.
  • Clearly define roles with anyone else working with you. If you’re co-owners, sign a partnership agreement. If you hire employees, use non-disclosure agreements. It’s common to want to move too quickly and to skip these steps, but that puts the company at risk.
  • Double-check to make sure you’re not infringing on someone else. You could spend years working on branding and building your reputation, only to see it all fall apart when someone else sues you for diluting their brand. Make sure everything is unique before moving forward.
  • Consider all of the various types of protection that exist. You can use patents, trademarks, service marks, copyrights and much more. All of them give you unique benefits, and you want to apply the right ones to the right type of IP.

As you get your business started, don’t take any chances. Don’t put the company at risk. Take the time to learn about all of the legal options that you have and what steps you need to take.