Various intellectual property services were well on their way to digitising numerous services prior to COVID-19. Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled innovation has been on the rise for several years.
The fourth industrial revolution is often referred to as digitalisation. IP offices all around the world have been examining how to streamline services by maximising the use of technology.
COVID-19 has sped up the procedure. Many offices have had to adapt to the changes, but they have done so and have come up with innovative and effective ways to handle some of the more routine chores.
Changes in digitization have affected a wide number of businesses. What may have taken some companies years to adapt to new electronic processes, has been done in record times.
Innovation continues to grow in digital businesses. Technology firms have seen their value skyrocket.
Update on Legal Services Industry post the pandemic
We were astounded at how fast our firm (and other New Zealand firms) and clients adjusted to working from home. When we went into lockdown, we discovered that things went quite silent for almost two weeks. We wondered if it would continue, and then things grew busier and busier. We realised that was the amount of time it took for people we spoke with to get themselves set up to work from home in record time.
We believe the transition was quick, and for some, it was exactly what they had been looking for – more flexible working hours and the ability to work from home.
The juggling of families at home, parents carrying out their children’s teaching duties, and managing job commitments was a huge task, which we found that most of the people we know and work with were able to overcome. We have been fortunate in New Zealand because we are a small country isolated from the rest of the world, and we have a Prime Minister who was willing to make a hasty decision to lock our borders and handle Covid as tightly as possible. We’ve gone back into multiple short-term lockdowns with around 24 hours’ notice, but we’ve spent very little time in lockdown compared to the rest of the world. This has not made us complacent, and we remain watchful and cautious as a country.
Work on the project has continued through the use of online media. Zoom and team calls have become commonplace for us. These are done with our employees, clients, and coworkers. We watch webinars and listen to podcasts. We had a terrific time at the INTA Virtual conference and had excellent business meetings, committee meetings, catch-ups with colleagues, and some fast meetings with people we had never met before.
Before the initial Covid lockdown, we had relished the opportunity to work from home for a while. Working from home full-time was an easy move for us. It’s showed us how critical it is to work with a decent system – we use Equinox and love it. It has also showed us that as practitioners, regardless of our age, we must invest in ensuring that we have solid technical/computer abilities. We’ve made social media a big part of our marketing strategy, and we’ve been using it to distribute practically all of our material.
IP Secrets and Know-how
Several of our clients have inquired about the differences between Confidential Information, Trade Secrets, and Know-How. In business, there is a lack of knowledge of the differences.
These terms are most frequently used in the context of negotiations or discussions in relation to collaborations, investment decisions, business sales, investment sales, technology collaborations, and Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s), to name a few. It is critical that those who protect IP as well as those who purchase and licence IP understand the differences.
Confidential information, trade secrets, and know-how are all factors to consider when considering whether or not to pursue patent protection.
Confidential Information is information that you don’t want the general public to know about. It’s something that isn’t in the public domain and would have rules and papers governing how it’s shared with others.
Confidentiality Agreements would be used to manage Confidential Information, and they would often be for a set period of time, particularly in fields of technology development where information advances and changes quickly.
Secrets of the Trade
Confidential Information includes Trade Secrets. Trade secrets are unique pieces of information that you wish to keep to yourself, and they are usually the most important aspects of your product or service. It’s the KFC recipe that offers you a competitive edge, a commercial and economic advantage in the marketplace. A technique, process, or production, a formula, marketing information, designs, patterns, or information compilations are all examples of trade secrets.
Trade secrets must be identified since they are valuable and provide an economic advantage to your company. To maintain the Trade Secret’s secrecy, it is critical to have documentation in place that controls who has access to it.
It is necessary to maintain secrecy. It is critical that procedures be put in place to ensure that the Trade Secret remains confidential. It is not an Intellectual Property right that has been registered.
Although Trade Secrets are classified as Confidential Information, not all Confidential Information is classified as a Trade Secret. In our experience, this is not well appreciated.
How you know how to perform anything is referred to as know-how. It’s the knowledge you gain and build on your own. This information travels with your staff and is tough to keep in check. Contractual constraints are commonly used to accomplish this. We frequently discover that firms lack proper sections in their employment agreements that define who owns IP created over the course of employment.
As a business owner, it’s critical to know who has the know-how in your company.
About the Authors
Sue advises clients with all areas of trade mark and branding, drawing on more than 28 years of experience in commercial and intellectual property law. She also adds a lot of experience to her clients, ensuring that they reach their objectives. As a result, Sue is dedicated to assisting clients in achieving their objectives and goes above and beyond to learn about their business.
Rachel has a strong track record of providing high level IP counsel, with over 18 years of expertise. Rachel is an expert in the field of trade marks and beyond. She is able to deliver senior level IP counsel by combining this with her willingness to fully grasp her client’s strategic goals. She has worked with a variety of clients in a variety of industries, broadening her knowledge and skills beyond the standard.