Intellectual Property or IP of a company is classified information. It should not be revealed under any circumstances.
Most startups are really worried about the secrecy of their IP mainly because it is quite difficult to protect it in the beginning. Established companies go to many lengths to protect their IP. They may get a patent or have it trademarked. However, this is a luxury for startups. Of course you can register for trademark and patent but there are a few other things that you could do in the beginning so as to not weigh yourself down.
Here they are:
You obviously can’t allow just anybody and everybody to have access to your IP. Anyone who has access to your IP should have an agreement with you as well as a confidentiality clause. You should, of course, legally own the IP and stay in constant touch with your lawyer so that you talk to him or her when you have doubts. If the information is extremely sensitive you should take one step further into protecting it. You should keep a log so that you know who is accessing it and when.
We have learnt throughout our lives that sharing is a good thing and that sharing shows caring. That doesn’t stand true in every situation, least of all a situation that involves sensitive and confidential information. Having said that you should know that at some point of time you would have to share confidential information with someone who doesn’t work for you. Under such circumstances you should enforce the Non Disclosure Agreement or NDA. Confidential policies should be implemented too and every written document should be labeled strictly confidential.
In case you find out that someone else has the same brand name as you do you should try solving the matter as soon as possible. Dragging it will not help you. Threatening the other person will not help you either. You should ‘take legal action’ immediately. If you threaten once or twice and let it go the other person will get the impression that you don’t value your IP.
In three steps you can effectively protect your intellectual property.
The IP of a company is extremely vital and confidential. It is not something that you should disclose carelessly to anyone. Keep logs on anyone who has access to the information and defend yourself properly when the need arises. When you can, register for trademark and/or patent.