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Three tips for protecting intellectual property

Intellectual property rights can be complex, but they're incredibly important. Many businesses only thrive because they have rights to a specific piece of property that other companies cannot legally touch, giving them a tremendous edge.

You don't want to lose that to the competition just because you did not protect it properly. Below are three tips that can help.

1. Do it early.

Don't wait to see if an idea pans out. Don't put it off while you investigate something that "might" have a future. Procrastination can hurt you tremendously in the long run, and experts say that you're far better off to protect your rights as early as you can.

2. Don't assume no one will follow in your footsteps.

A lot of business owners don't protect their intellectual property in time, and, if asked about it, they say they just didn't think any would try to copy it. Remember, all it takes is one person to steal your idea and your company is suddenly in a tough spot. You're better off to assume it will happen than to assume it won't.

3. Don't just consider the costs.

You'd be surprised by how many people ignore intellectual property protections simply to avoid the cost. This is especially true with start-up companies that already have a lot of other costs. Experts warn that this can be a dangerous approach, though, and could cost more in the long run.

In the computer age, intellectual property rights are more important than ever. Make sure you know what steps to take to protect yourself and your company.

Source: Forbes, "How To Protect Your Intellectual Property The Right Way," Kathy Caprino, accessed May 11, 2017

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