“Knowledge is… vital in life’s transformation and transition.” – Jaachynma N.E. Age, The Prince and the Pauper
We are currently living in a post-digital age, also known as The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR, Industry 4.0). Technology is changing rapidly, and in some instances, we are struggling to keep up.
A succinct definition of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as cited by the World Economic Forum is as follows:
The fundamental premise of Industry 4.0 is that technological advancements will “fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.” Additionally, “the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”
Therefore, if you are an entrepreneur, and you are working on a 4IR-related technology, one of the questions that you need to ask is: How do you go about protecting your Intellectual Property (IP)?
Before we answer this question, let’s take a quick look at what IP is defined as. In other words, we will describe what you can legally claim as yours.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation defines Intellectual Property as the “creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce.”
Therefore, any new digital technology, algorithms, and inventions can be legally registered as your property.
Now that we understand what IP is, let’s look at how to protect your information.
Speak to a business attorney
The short answer to this question is that you need to register a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). And, it’s best to consult with an IP legal expert like a business lawyer in Warren, PA, for advice on the process to follow.
You will need to file a patent and trademark application. There will be a lot of legal documentation to fill out confirming that you are the legitimate owner of the IP. Therefore, as mentioned above, it is advisable to hire an attorney to guide you and file the application on your behalf.
Describe your invention
Secondly, and equally importantly, it is necessary to describe your invention or IP in minute detail. Otherwise, there is room for someone else to take your product, change it slightly, and register a competing patent and trademark.
This point cannot be stressed or highlighted enough, and it is where there is scope for help and advice from a technical writer and a patent attorney. To retain full rights to your Intellectual Property as the entire invention, you must ensure that you meticulously write the design up in all its detail.
Understand the patent process
The successful awarding of patents and trademarks to inventors of new technologies provides the incentive for entrepreneurs and inventors to work hard at developing these new technologies. In real terms, new technological developments have the potential to save lives.
An example of where new technology has saved lives is the development of bomb disposal robots. The advances in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning has allowed for the development of automated unmanned drones that can safely disable explosive devices.
There are many advantages to submitting a new technology to the Patents office. The fundamental advantage, however, is that it protects your IP, allows you to generate an income from the IP, and it drives the process to develop new technologies based on your inventions and Intellectual Property.