Some of a business’ most valuable assets are ideas. From research data in lab notebooks to proprietary designs and trade secrets, intellectual property (IP) comes in many forms, making it a challenge to know how to protect it.
What’s more, protecting intellectual property is a multi-layered process, as Forbes Technology Council points out. The best practices recommended by the council include starting by setting strict internal controls, using technology to manage security and access, and setting up proper access controls.
But how can you use technology to manage your intellectual property when it’s paper-based? Not only does paper-based IP complicate document security, it also takes up a great deal of space and is at constant risk of being damaged by natural disasters like fire and flood. While your insurance policy may protect your other physical assets, once paper-based IP is destroyed, you simply can’t get it back.
Protecting paper-based intellectual property becomes much easier when you can transform it into a digital asset through document scanning. Electronic document management requires less space, lowers storage costs, is more secure, and means data be accessed quickly any time from any authorized computer or mobile device. Even oversized books, notebooks, and documents can be accommodated with large scale scanning.
We had the opportunity to speak with representatives from Samuel French, Inc. and Alira Health, two companies in vastly different industries which both turned to MetaSource for document scanning and digitization services to protect critical paper-based assets. Here’s what they had to say about why they chose to digitize their assets and what benefits doing so has had for their companies.
What types of intellectual property does your company possess?
Nate Collins, President, Samuel French: Samuel French is the oldest, largest, and most progressive theatrical licensing and publishing company in the world. What does that mean? It means that we help theaters around the world obtain the performance rights to plays and musicals that may have been on Broadway at one time, and we sell them the scripts. Being almost 190 years old means that Samuel French has a lot of plays in its catalog – about 10,000 actually. It also means that we have a lot of agreements with playwrights and licenses with theaters, as well as mountains and mountains of correspondence, payment receipts, and financial records.
Lindsay Poland, Scientist, Alira Health: Our division of Alira Health specializes in innovation. We develop our own intellectual property as well as intellectual property for our clients. We also offer full service research and development capabilities tailored to our client’s needs. A loss of documentation of raw data would be devastating for us. Thus, a protocol has been put in place to backup our data which includes scanning once a notebook is completed.
What were the risks your business faced that made you turn to MetaSource for help protecting your intellectual property?
Collins: Because our business is dictated by the terms of the agreements with authors, we needed fast access to these contracts and also easy storage. Until 2011, we stored all of our papers, contracts and copies of correspondence, in file cabinets in our office. But this was risky and inconvenient because it was easy to lose the papers through misplacement, fire, flood, theft, or general negligence.
Poland: Alira had a power failure caused by building management that shut off the power to our refrigerators and freezers. This led to a large insurance claim and payout. Our insurance company then made a list of requirements to secure further coverage. The requirements included backing up all of our data which included notebook scanning.
What improvements have you noticed since working with MetaSource?
Collins: We worked with MetaSource to create a “paperless” office – all of our contracts and correspondence was scanned and coded. We then chose to store it on Salesforce for easy retrieval. Because of this digitization effort, we have become more efficient: team members are able to find the information they are looking for in a fraction of the time. We have also become more reliable: none of our agreements are missing. And finally, we are saving a lot of money on rent: we were able to reduce our office space by 50% – in New York City, that is a really big deal.
Poland: Working with MetaSource is an easy and cost-effective way to have our raw data and notes scanned so we can then save them onto our server in case of a catastrophic loss.
Protecting your company’s intellectual property is critical to maintaining a competitive edge, clearly establishing differentiation in the market and defining the strengths of your company. Whether it is research, literary work or other intellectual property documentation, your company needs to protect this important asset and prioritize document security. Ready to protect your organization’s paper-based intellectual property? Contact us now!