7 Practical Tips to Help Protect Your IP

By Amy Sept

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Want to engage freelance help, but feel reluctant to give someone access to the nitty-gritty details? Collaboration takes trust, and trust takes time. But at the same time, business waits for nobody. By hiring well and proactively taking steps to ensure your information is protected, you can help boost your level of comfort.

Intellectual property (IP) can be a particular area of concern. Technically, IP refers to things you create—and it is protected by a number of laws, like copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret laws.

Most businesses have concerns that go beyond IP to include internal information in general, such as documents, data, and processes.

There are steps you can take—before you start your search for a freelancer, during the project, and once your project wraps up—to help. Here are seven things you can do to help put your mind at ease.

1. Start with legal protections

As Ashley Brewer, a business and branding attorney, explained on Forbes:

“As soon as you start taking steps to implement a business or product idea, such as incorporating, obtaining state or federal licenses, or securing production of a product, you should identify which aspects of your business and products are protectable.”

To start, that means connecting with a legal professional to register any trademarks, copyright, or patents.

Any agreements you enter with freelancers should specify who owns IP, as well as any work done with it. Other concerns you may need to address include electronic assets and exclusivity.

If you’re collaborating with a freelancer through the Upwork site, this is addressed in the Terms of Service as part of our mission to build trust and safety around online work:

“Once a freelancer receives payment for work completed on a project, our Terms of Service specify that ownership of that work transfers to the client. For details, see Section 8.6 of our User Agreement. It also explains that freelancers and clients can agree on different or additional terms.”

2. Create a NDA

While you’re getting legal assistance, you should also consider protecting yourself through non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

A NDA is a confidentiality agreement between two or more parties, with each agreeing not to disclose any material, knowledge, or information that’s covered by the contract. Its use extends beyond freelancers and employees; consider including family, friends, and other partners who may be privy to confidential information.

3. Don’t shortcut the vetting process

The scope of your project may be limited, but that doesn’t mean you should cut back on your normal due diligence. “When we’re looking for a freelancer we do a lot of work up front—just as we would for an employee. The process isn’t really any different,” said Bittu Ahlawat, who leads Upwork’s mobile engineering team and works with freelance developers all over the world.

This means thoroughly vetting each freelancer and honing in on those with an established professional reputation: Previous experience, a proven track record, recommendations, referrals. Freelancer profiles on the Upwork site may reflect some Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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