Protecting Intellectual Property

intellectual property

Why You Should Be Concerned About Protecting Your Intellectual Property

History is laced with stories of brilliant inventors and other creatives who have been robbed of intellectual property. It doesn’t take a lot of time to research stories describing unfair losses of intellectual property. That’s why we take the position that it’s wise to take proper precautions in advance to avoid having any problems. After-the-fact remedies seldom deliver much in the way of financial remediation.

What Is Intellectual Property TheftProtecting Intellectual Property

Let’s start off with a definition of intellectual property theft that comes from the FBI website.

“Intellectual property theft involves robbing people or companies of their ideas, inventions, and creative expressions—known as “intellectual property”—which can include everything from trade secrets and proprietary products and parts to movies, music, and software.”

Why I Go To So Much Trouble To Protect The Intellectual Property Of My Clients

Non disclosure agreement

I have intensely strong feelings about my responsibilities regarding the intellectual property of my clients. To start with, I have a conscience, and don’t believe it’s right to steal someone else’s ideas. Just thinking about it breaks my heart. You have spent a lot of time and energy on your product idea. Protecting it is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of my job.

I’m a designer myself, and understand the anxiety and fear you might feel about someone stealing your ideas. This is often the first question out of the mouths of my new clients, “How do I protect my intellectual property?” The second statement (if they are knowledgeable) is, “I want us to sign an NDA.”

It’s a point of pride for me to note that my clients’ anxiety goes away the first time I talk to them. Once they understand my philosophy about protecting their intellectual property, you can see the fear drop away. I’m a really honest person at heart and its’ easy for them to see how protective I am of my clients’ intellectual property.

Before Anything, A Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA)

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) business concept.

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) business concept.

For all of these reasons, the very first thing we do with a new prospect or client is to put an NDA in place. That is the correct starting point when intellectual property is involved. We start with a fill-in-the-blank NDA online application customized to your business.

We sit for a while and I ask you questions, and we fill out the form online. It covers things like what information is protected and for how long. According to your answers, the application structures your customized NDA. If you or your company have your own NDA, we use yours.

Every Employee Also Signs An Extensive NDA On Employment

Among the first things we do with new employees is to secure a comprehensive NDA from them. This is a critical part of our hiring process. We would never entrust any employee with your product ideas without this document in place. The NDA protects every aspect of your intellectual property, and binds employees for five years after employment ceases.

How I Protect Your Intellectual Property

All Files Are Encrypted To Industry-Recognized Standards

We use encryption on all client files that is almost impossible to crack without an encryption key. 256-Bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption is an industry-recognized standard. Just to give you a tiny idea about how secure this encryption is, here’s a couple of short paragraphs to set your mind at ease.

“In cryptography, a brute-force attack consists of an attacker trying many passwords or passphrases with the hope of eventually guessing correctly.”

Here’s what the article says about how long it would take to break 256-Bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption.

“Breaking a symmetric 256-bit key by brute force requires…Fifty supercomputers that could check a billion billion (1018) AES keys per second (if such a device could ever be made) would, in theory, require about 3×1051 years to exhaust the 256-bit key space.”


The Application We Use For Client Work Is 256-Bit AES Encrypted

We use one application for all our project files, AUTODESK Fusion 360 for drawings/specifications. Fusion employs 256-Bit AES encryption when saving all client files.

We Use Two-Step Verification On Every Single File

For me, that’s still not enough protection for your intellectual property. We also use two-step verification on every single file. This means that not only do we use a password, we also take a second step. We have an app that either texts a code to our phone or generates a code on the computer. In order to access client files, someone needs both the password and this second step code.

In practical terms, this provides a second layer of protection. It means that if there should ever be any kind of security breach, we could immediately change the second step code. This would re-secure the encrypted files of your intellectual property.

That’s Not All We Do Though

We’re Still Just Getting Started On Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Altogether, that may sound like a lot of protection for your product design ideas. But, we still do a lot more than that.

All Files Are Saved To An Encrypted Solid State Drive (SSD) Hard Drive Which I Keep On my Person

In this shop no one is allowed to save a file on their computer. They are all saved onto an encrypted SSD external drive. I’ve selected an SSD drive because it has no moving parts to break. I carry all client files on the encrypted drive in my pocket next to my heart. I’m that careful about protecting your intellectual property.

All Traces Of Files On Personal Computer Are Erased At End Of Every Working Day

Any traces of working files on personal computers are erased at day’s end, each day. Our shop best practices mandate that everyone log out of their computer at the end of every day. We delete all traces of the files on the computer to ensure there could not be data theft after hours. OK, maybe we’re seeming a little paranoid about it, but it’s critically important.

We Do Daily Backups On Encrypted Dropbox

In addition to the Encrypted Solid State Drive (SSD) version of your file, we also do daily backups of client files on Dropbox.Your data is encrypted with 256-Bit AES on Dropbox and we always have that Dropbox backup file just in case.

And That’s Still Not All We Do

I Also Control Employee Access To Client Files

Employees have access to files strictly on a need-to-know basis. Employees can only see the files they are working on. They do not have access to all files. This isn’t because I don’t trust them. It’s because I just want to add another layer of secure protection for my clients. But, that’s not all I do.

This last thing will probably convince you I’m careful beyond reason. Every weekend, I also suspend my employees’ Fusion 360 and Dropbox accounts until the next work day. Come Monday, I put their user license back in place allowing them access again.

Everything Protecting intellectual propertyI Do Everything Imaginable To Protect Your Intellectual Property In This Shop

If I Learn Of Any Future Safety Protections, Count On Me To Add Them

I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I had to worry that my clients’ intellectual property is at risk. I’m that fanatical about protecting you. Whatever new security concerns arise, I’m at the head of the line to protect you. Take that to the bank.


Where To Next?

Now that you fully understand how we protect your intellectual property, click on this link to explore the services we provide.

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