Modern businesses have much more at stake than a physical product. The boom of the knowledge economy has generated a world where many innovations and solutions reside in the domain of the mind. For that reason, entrepreneurs, artists, innovators and developers must pay greater attention to intellectual property protections.

The legal importance of protecting intellectual property rights isn’t necessarily obvious, and breaches can sneak up on you–like in the case of one Atlanta-based artist. However, considering that intellectual property now accounts for 35% of the U.S. economy, it’s a necessary distinction to make.

Here are four professional scenarios where you should obtain the right to intellectual property:

  1. Cloud technology solutions: more and more, data is moving to cloud storage. With this migration comes a need for innovation to improve security solutions, IT support, and end user accessibility. Any new innovation of this nature can be either patented or even protected as a trade secret.
  2. New branding: whether you’re growing a startup or re-branding your current business, any new branding concepts should be protected through trademarking. It’s easy to rip off a logo, and guarding your overall brand voice and business “personality” from copycats is especially important when you’re still establishing your roots.
  3. Visual or recording arts: some artists underestimate the impact that unprotected artwork can have on their financial future. Without patenting an artistic concept or design, artists are left vulnerable to others profiting off of their work or otherwise using it without permission.
  4. Written work: authors of novels, songs, and even computer languages should obtain copyrights to their work to prevent plagiarism and theft.

There are numerous forms of intellectual property protections, and the type you use depends on the form your property takes. While it may seem obvious to protect physical object inventions, conceptual or knowledge-based protections are just as important.

An attorney can help you determine what type of protections your business or profession requires, the costs, and how to enforce it. Doing so can open new doors to profitability and growth for decades to come.