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How can global teams protect their invaluable IP assets?

HR & Compliance

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Updated on:
March 15, 2024
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Updated on :

March 15, 2024
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How can global teams protect their invaluable IP assets?


We all know the numerous advantages international hiring brings employers. However, it also exposes them to several risks regarding critical company information. As company data gets stored in the cloud, it is easily accessible by globally-distributed teams and shared among one another in seconds. Protecting Intellectual Property (IP) and ensuring data security gets even more complex when you hire across borders. As technology runs in today’s world, it is more important than ever for companies to educate their employees and themselves about protecting their most valuable assets.

As challenging as it can be, protecting your IP, maintaining your reputation, and avoiding legal battles, let’s deep dive into the types of Intellectual Property and how you can easily protect your IP assets when working with a global team.

What is Intellectual Property (IP)?

Intellectual Property refers to mental creations, such as inventions, designs, artistic works, product development, etc. While intangible, they are often tradable, so they are legal property.

In a business environment, IP includes any intangible asset owned and protected by an individual or an organization that external parties can’t utilize or implement without the respective owner’s consent.

Protecting Intellectual property matters the most for businesses of all sizes since their products, services and offerings make them stand out from the competition and attract potential customers or investors, giving them a competitive edge and gaining potential customers.

Intellectual property often fits into the following categories-

  1. Trademarks
  2. Patents
  3. Copyrights
  4. Trade secrets

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Ways in which you can easily protect your IP assets when working with a global team

You can seamlessly protect your IP by establishing the points mentioned below.

Vet your employees before hiring them

One of the most efficient ways to protect intellectual property is to vet your employees before hiring and follow stricter guidelines when selecting your remote and international workforce. It is advisable to contact your employees’ references and do a thorough background check before you make an offer. Even simple preventive measures will keep you ahead in protecting your IP assets.

Register patents, copyrights, and trademarks

In most countries, like the US, copyright protection is automatically granted as soon as you create the work, so registration is not mandatory. However, depending on the type of IP you want to protect, you can register with the US Patent and Trademark Office or the US Copyright Office. The sooner you register, the easier it is to defend a copyright infringement.  

Member countries of the World Trade Organization follow the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS agreement). The TRIPS agreement provides baseline protections for intellectual property rights. You can file international patent protection under the Paris Convention or the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The deadlines vary for both paths, so picking the one most suitable for you is advisable. 

Create NDAs to protect trade secrets from your employees 

Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA) are legal agreements that outline the material, knowledge, or information that should be confidential. NDAs may also be known as confidentiality agreements (CA) or proprietary information agreements (PIA). Using an NDA for works that cannot be secured under copyright law is advisable.

Conduct security awareness and training programs for your employees

You need to educate and create awareness among your employees on the importance of security. You can implement a security awareness and training program once in a while when you onboard a new hire. Make sure to showcase your security protocols and drive your point of the importance of security. Educate your employees on the importance of Intellectual Property protection and cybersecurity. If your employees are well aware of potential exposure risks, they’ll be careful when using unknown networks or installing unauthorized apps on their devices. Additionally, they’ll know the rules regarding ownership of their work as soon as they sign a contract and the NDA with you. 

Implement security protocols

Implementing security protocols can go a long way in protecting your IT assets. Here are several universal security protocols that can help you with that-

  1. Provide dedicated work accounts for your employees
  2. Disable automatic login
  3. Utilize tracking or monitoring software
  4. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  5. Enable two-factor authentication
  6. Set up firewalls

How does Skuad help global teams protect your intellectual property? 

Partnering with an Employer of Record platform like Skuad, you get the advantage of tailored contracts that seamlessly transfer IP ownership to you. These contracts are custom-crafted and regularly reviewed for end-to-end compliance with local regulations and full protection. Likewise, hiring independent contractors through Skuad has built-in IP clauses that assign all contractor-created work to the company.

Securing your IP and invention rights will empower your team to scale globally confidently. See how Skuad manages international teams compliantly. 

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About the author

Catalina Wang is a Human Resource Consultant. She manages recruitment, onboarding, and contract administration staffing for many organizations and remote teams. She’s passionate about efficient HR management and the impact of tech on hiring practices.

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