Before you develop your business idea you need to check that your proposed name or product is not infringing somebody else’s patent, trademark, registered design or copyright.
Once you’ve checked you should protect your own intellectual property rights so that nobody can copy you. An IP audit can help you identify all your IP rights and importantly also the IP owned by others that your business uses every day.
If you infringe someone’s IP rights you could face civil law action or even criminal proceedings which could lead to hefty fines or a custodial sentence. So it’s really important that you set out an IP policy for your business.
Simple things like purchasing a license for playing music in your workplace or ensuring that you have the right licenses for software and you only upload images that you own or have the rights to should all be part of your IP policy.
Your workforce also need to respect your IP policy. Selling counterfeit goods on your premises may leave you liable for prosecution as could accessing infringing materials online. Ignorance or accidentally infringing someone’s IP is not a defence.
Respecting other people’s IP is an essential part of any successful business.
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