Picture it. You’ve had a stroke of genius and your idea could possibly revolutionize the healthcare industry. Or, perhaps you’re on the brink of inventing something that could eradicate carbon emissions from the environment once and for all. As an engineer, there is no limit to the solutions you can develop to help humankind. But how do you protect your ideas and research? How can you present your concept to investors or to the public without running the risk it might be stolen?
If you’re in the brainstorming or testing phase of an engineering marvel, you’ve got to take every precaution to protect your intellectual property from theft. To this end, here are some ways you can safeguard your engineering projects and research so you can rest assured you retain full ownership in later stages of development.
Secure Your Devices
The primary, yet most overlooked step to protecting your intellectual property is securing your digital devices. To explain, cybersecurity is crucial to protect your designs, notes, or research from the threat of cyberattacks. Start by getting VIPRE endpoint security. This specialized security defends internet-connected devices from cyberthreats, malware, data theft or exploitation and is a vital necessity when it comes to safeguarding your data.
According to Norton, one of the leading antivirus services online, a cyberattack is committed every 39 seconds. That equates to about 2,200 cyber crimes committed on digital devices every day. In light of these sobering statistics, you can’t afford to leave all your hard work and engineering research vulnerable to cyberhackers. So, get your digital devices protected with endpoint security software, and solid virus protection.
Consider Getting a Patent
If your engineering project or invention will eventually be manufactured and/or presented to the consumer market, you should consider getting a patent to protect your idea and design. A patent is legally binding protection that prohibits any individual or entity from stealing or copying your invention. While a patent is a strong measure of protection for your project, it isn’t always fail-proof. Furthermore, it can be an arduous and expensive process to secure a patent. Nevertheless, an engineering patent is the most conventional and secure way to ensure your endeavor doesn’t end up being stolen.
When most people think of trademarks, they think of a protective measure for a brand like Nike or Pepsi. While that’s accurate, a trademark can also be an added level of security for your engineering project or invention. To elaborate, using a trademark associated with your creation dissuades others from the temptation of stealing your idea. It also builds authority that yes, indeed, you are the creator of your invention as it makes your ownership distinctive from others. A trademark should be used in conjunction with a patent, for a more ironclad protection from theft.
Publish a Paper
If your engineering idea or invention is a prototype and still in the pre-production stage, publishing a paper on your research is a good precaution to protect your intellectual property. This might sound counterintuitive. After all, if you publish your data, doesn’t that mean anybody can steal your idea? Not necessarily. If you publish with an established institute such as an engineering college, or in a technical journal, your name is associated with that publication. In other words, you can prove that you are the originator, owner and author of your research. As such, you have a clear provenance (proof of ownership) that is strong enough to defend your legal rights should someone attempt to steal your concept.
Copyright laws can be very convoluted, and therefore it is one of the weakest forms of protecting your intellectual property. However, if you register a copyright on your research, it adds another layer of protection which discourages would-be thieves from absconding with your hard work. A copyright indicates you are the author of your research or written material related to your project or invention. Technically, your information is copyrighted the moment you create it. That’s why you should register copyrighted material, because it lends stronger credence to authorship.
The Last Word on Protecting Your Engineering Marvel
Concocting an engineering feat takes an extraordinary amount of time, research and effort. No doubt, you’ve spent endless hours developing your idea so you can see it manifest into something ideally revolutionary for the world. That said, why would you leave all that hard work vulnerable to theft? You’ve invested too much to take chances with your accomplishments, so take every precaution to protect your precious engineering assets at every step of development.