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4 Ways To Protect The Intellectual Property Of Your Software

4 Ways To Protect The Intellectual Property Of Your Software

Intellectual property is an asset your company owns that gives it differentiation and a competitive advantage in the marketplace. While some businesses recognize the importance of their intellectual property, many businesses neglect both protecting and improving their intellectual property. After all, intellectual property is an intangible asset, therefore, it is hard to place an actual value on its worth. So, you may be careless in providing it with adequate protection to keep it safe.

When it comes to your intellectual property you want to ensure that it is protected so that no one can steal what you have spent years to develop. Without the proper protection in place you could find yourself looking at someone else profiting off of your creative idea for your software. To avoid this from happening you need to take the proper measures to keep your intellectual property from falling into the wrong hands.

To keep the intellectual property of your software protected, use the four following tactics:

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1. File a Copyright

A copyright is the protection of an idea or other information that has been developed by the copyright holder. Copyright laws protect the authorship of music, novels, movies, songs, architecture, and software. Although copyright protection is granted when your work is first created and given a tangible form, you still will need to give it the proper protection and register it—registered copyright. Registering your intellectual information with the U.S. Copyright Office provides it with the proper protection that gets recognized in court.

When you register your copyright it is noted for public record which gives notice that you have claimed legal copyright protection for your intellectual information.

Another benefit of a copyright is that it provides you with the ability to sue anyone who infringes upon your copyright. Therefore, a copyright is needed if you want to pursue legal action against those who use your intellectual information for their own gain without your permission.

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2. File for a Patent

A patent grants property rights to the inventor of a new invention. If your software has a distinct feature that separates it from your competition, you will need a patent to protect your competitive advantage.

The benefits of a patent for your software include:

  • Right Exclusivity – The exclusive rights of a patent grant only you complete ownership and use of your software for twenty years from the date of the filed patent application.
  • Establishing market positioning – Since your competitors cannot use your patented software, you reduce the threat of competition, providing you with an advantage in the marketplace
  • Increased returns on investments – Having exclusive rights allows you the possibility to generate higher revenue since your competition cannot provide the same value only you have the ability to produce.
  • Opportunity to license or sell the invention – You don’t have to do the hard work of marketing and selling your software if you sell it or license it to another company that will do all the work for you (provided you share some of the generated revenue).

3. Think Hard About Source Code Licenses

If you use a source code license, you are giving a licensee a non-exclusive and non-transferable license to your software; permission to use and modify your licensed software. This is a risky move to take because you are possibly allowing your source code outside of your organization. This arguably weakens your company’s trade secrets as the source code is no longer being kept completely secret.

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To eliminate these issues use a source code escrow to ensure the rights of your software are protected. A source code escrow protects all parties of a software license by having a 3rd party escrow agent hold the software’s essential information. This helps keep the source code safe while still providing the protection a licensee needs.

4. Have Developers Sign an IP Assignment Agreement

The developers who are developing your intellectual property need to sign an IP assignment agreement stating that all work developed within the company belongs to the company.

This helps to dissuade an individual from selling your intellectual information to a competitor or using it to profit from their own use. If one of your developers does take either course of action you can use this document to take swift, legal action.

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Your intellectual property as a valuable asset needs to be well protected. These four tips can help provide you with protection and a competitive advantage.

If your goal is to create valuable software that generates large sums of money you will want to definitely invest in these protective measures.

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Zak Mustapha

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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