Intellectual Property Tracking

What if you could follow a piece of intellectual property as it turns from an idea into a reality?

You’ve got talented, creative employees who are constantly innovating and coming up with revolutionary and disruptive ideas. These ideas are the bread and butter of your business. And, as that business, it’s your job to protect the intellectual property employees create until it can be turned into something profitable for your company.

The ideation process includes many, many steps as ideas transform into products, formulations or processes. Along the way, unfortunately, you can lose valuable intellectual property to leaks or human error. To minimize loss or mistakes from the beginning, it’s important to have a method or program that will track this intellectual property as it manifests.

Before we get into protecting and tracking your intellectual property, let’s do a quick rundown of types. There are four main types of intellectual property and they’re protected by intellectual property law.

  • Copyright: A copyright protects created works from being copied or reproduced without the author’s permission.
  • Trademark: A trademark is a sign or symbol or image that identifies goods or services as being from a specific company. This protects customers from buying inferior products and brands from sustaining damage to their reputation.
  • Trade secrets: Trade secrets are the essence of your company. A trade secret is confidential information that gives you a competitive advantage over another company. These need to be protected at all costs.
  • Patents: A patent protects a process or invention and gives the patent holder the right to decide how others may or may not use it. In exchange, patents are made public.

That’s a very basic explanation of different types of intellectual property. However, there’s a problem with intellectual property law — even though you can get intellectual property protections, you have to fight extended legal battles if any of these protections are ever challenged. Even if you do go through the proper channels for protecting intellectual property, if it’s not secured internally, then your ideas are just as good as handed over.

Once someone has your intellectual property, whether it’s a formula or a section of code, it’s not about getting it back at that point; it’s about punishing who or what leaked it. Once your intellectual property is gone, it’s gone. Which is why it needs to be protected from day one.

How intellectual property tracking can happen from day one

If you work in a field or industry where ideas are typically recorded in text-based formats, it’s a direct possibility that you could track your intellectual property from day one.

Think of the ways intellectual property could be transformed from the original recording of it in a document. Your employee writes it up, then transfers it to Google sheets or MS PowerPoint to pitch it to management. Or they turn it into a PDF and upload it to a file sharing account to send to your remote worker. That document can take plenty of forms as it goes through the production process.

With OCR technology, you can search text-based documents. Still, finding it wherever it’s located is hard. Stay tuned and we’ll show you how you can identify how many parts of that original document have been moved or reproduced in different places. This will help you with the intellectual property tracking process without all the effort of having your IT team comb through individual files and documents.

The next step is also important — controlling where that intellectual property resides.

You decide where your intellectual property is safest

How did we end up letting employees pick and choose where they get to store information? There should be a process or guideline in place that lets employees know where they can store information or how they can share it. However, if those policies don’t exist or if the tools they’ve been given are outdated and clunky, they’ll probably try to use something else.

There’s always the option of blocking outside apps like Dropbox or Google Drive, but more often than not, these cloud storage and sharing apps are becoming necessary integrations into a worker’s day.

The real solution here is to work with employees to use the tools they want while also letting IT have full access to them. FileHub™ can do this. It’s a matter of your company deciding which cloud apps you’re comfortable with employees using and which you aren’t. Once that’s in place, FileHub™ monitors file activity and prompts employees with a notification every time they try to navigate to an outside file sharing site or app that isn’t authorized yet. Authorized application usage is tracked and fingerprinted.

Pop-up alerts inform employees that if they want to use the cloud app, they need to give the company full access to its contents. If employees aren’t doing anything nefarious, but just using the tool for better productivity, then they’ll have no problem complying. If they’re taking company documents for reasons that aren’t above-board, well then they’ll probably deny that access and this is something you’ll want to look into, since FileHub™ will inform you that they attempted access as well.

Intellectual property tracking that goes with your business flow

FileHub™ offers your team the ability to trace chunks of your intellectual property as it evolves over time. If your document evolves into a presentation or PDF, you will be able to see that in FileHub™’s storyboards. If you want to see who has accessed files that contain certain information, you can filter that too. Finally, if you want to lock down storage locations or know everywhere a file has moved, you can quickly break that down. This gives you complete intellectual property tracking.

Your intellectual property doesn’t have to be at risk all of the time. You can put protections in place from the moment it’s put on paper (well,the moment the file’s created) and increase the odds in your favor that you can hang on to all of your intellectual property. It just takes the right tool.

Want to see how FileHub™ can be one of the tools that help you fight intellectual property leaks? Schedule your demo here.

Learn More About FileHub™

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About the author

I am the Content Marketer at SmartFile, which means I get to learn everything and write about it -- my two favorite things. I firmly believe that oatmeal cookies should contain chocolate chips, not raisins.

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