The dramatic growth and rapid evolution of the online world, and all the opportunities it brings, has had some remarkable impacts on how small businesses are able to manage themselves. Organizations are able to operate with an efficiency and a reach that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. With this additional functionality comes new responsibilities, however, and it is vitally important that small business owners take these responsibilities seriously to avoid breaching their legal obligations. One particular area of focus should be privacy and copyright law.
What is intellectual property?
Intellectual property is the collective term for a group of federal and state laws concerned with the protection of creative property. In this instance, the term property can refer to any creative output, including music, photography, writing and works of art. Such works are protected by laws, including copyright, trademark and patent laws, depending on the nature of the work and the specific situation.
Why is it important?
The law in this area also covers software, so owners of tech businesses need to make sure they have a solid understanding of both their obligations and rights in this area. Here are a few specific examples where this should be a primary consideration:
- If an employee of your business designs and develops a piece of software, the law will provide guidance regarding whose intellectual property this is and who is therefore entitled to benefit from any profits the software may generate.
- Trade secrets. The law will also protect sensitive business information, which is important given that we exist at a time when increasing numbers of people are using laptops, tablets and other mobile devices to access critical work data. It is important to understand what protection, as a business owner, you are entitled to.
- Invasion of privacy prevents intrusion into an individual’s life and affairs, and it is important that an employer understands what this means in practice so that they can avoid doing so to their employees. This can happen, even inadvertently and without intention, due to the blurring of lines between devices that are used for work purposes and social purposes.
What should you be doing about this?
With all this in mind, it is therefore critical to have a professional source of trusted legal advice that you can go to for guidance in this area. One such professional is Bob Bratt, an individual with extensive experience in the law and business, including operating as a Managing Partner for Unisys and Chief Operating Officer.
Security and protection for the future
There are numerous challenges that a small business owner must face in order to make sure the company is operating in the most effective way and in line with all the relevant legislation. This can seem daunting, but should not be enough to put off anyone who is truly serious about achieving his or her ambitions. All it takes is some basic research, including advice from the right sort of professional, to make sure that all obligations are being met in a way that helps lay the foundations for the future success of your business.