A Guide to IP Protection for Nigerian Companies
So many businesses and senior-level management in companies complain that employees steal their company IP rights and walk away with it. These employees and contractors leave the companies, walking away with valuable IP that developed for business operations. Most times, these IP are proprietary in Nature. The complaints encompass IP theft in areas like software solutions development, proprietary work sheets and sector-specific work formulars, client lists, trademarks (in cases where these Marks and Names are not registered) alongside other areas.
HOW CAN BUSINESSES PROTECT THEIR IP FROM THEFT?
A lot of internal workforce threats and external corporate threats besiege businesses as they operate, among which is IP theft. Most times it seems that protection of Soft Assets of these companies (IP rights), are the worst hit. It has been identified that one of the major reasons for this is because these companies seem to lack operating guides for their IP protection, and it is also unfortunate that IP seems to be one of the most vulnerable areas wherein businesses suffer loses since they usually overlook IP-related issues.
MODE OF IP PROTECTION
There are various ways by which companies and business Firms can protect IP developed in the course of their business to prevent them from being stolen by their competitors or even employees who can turn around to become competitors as they exit these companies. These include:
Registration: Trademarks, Patents, Copyrights.
Non-Disclosure Agreements; Restrictive Covenants; (these apply mostly to Trade Secrets)
Restricted Access to Confidential Information by staff.
Before embarking on IP protection, we advise companies to run an extensive IP Audit. By auditing their IP, they can discover which of their available information can be protected by extant laws and which should not be protected.