Securing Your Intellectual Property

Securing Your Intellectual Property
  • Opening Intro -

    When it comes to the world of business, you're bound to come up with new ideas that need protection. 

    After all, when you create a stellar new logo, what's to stop others from stealing your design? 

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This is where intellectual property rights come into play.

What Is Intellectual Property?

To boil it down: Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind.  Some examples of this include artistic designs or written works.  Brand symbols and logos are also considered IP, along with musical compositions and inventions. 

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

After your business comes up with a great idea, you have to be wary.  There is always the danger of someone trying to take that idea, dress it up as their own, and make money off of it.  Copycats are everywhere.

That being said, there are legal measures you can make to ensure your intellectual property is safe.  Some examples of protections you can register for are detailed below.

Trademarks

Trademarks come in handy when you need to protect logos, slogans, or brand names that are used on products or services. 

To obtain a trademark, you have to register for one through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (or USPTO).  So long as nobody claims the same trademark beforehand, then it’s likely your registration will be approved. 

Copyrights

Copyrights protect books, photos, paintings, poetry, and other creative projects.  For a business, this means it protects company websites and relevant marketing materials and designs.  While copyright comes into play as soon as your piece of work is created, your protections are limited.  To make sure your work is fully protected, you’ll want to register your copyright.

Patents

Patents protect unique inventions.  You could patent new tools, machines, or manufacturing processes.  There are different categories of patents, including design patents, utility patents, and plant patents. 

Sharing Your Ideas

When you create a new idea, it’s important that you’re picky about who you tell.  It can be tempting to spread the word when you feel like you’re onto something, but then you open yourself up to having your idea stolen. 

In the case where you really need to share your idea with someone, consider having that person sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).  An NDA ensures that the person you’re sharing your idea with cannot share said information with others.  They are bound to confidentiality.  In the case that someone violates an NDA, they open themselves up to a lawsuit and other consequences.

Alternatively, if you want to ensure, beyond a doubt, that your IP is protected, consider not telling anyone.  If possible, keep your intellectual property to yourself.

other valuable tips from our business blog (new win):

The Importance of Protecting Your Intellectual Property

When you launch a business, it’s easy to get caught up in the process of making money.  Establishing copyrights, patents, and trademarks might not be the first thing on your to-do list, but it should be.  Registering for the necessary protections on your IP is key to maintaining your brand and your credibility.

For more information on the trademark process, check out the infographic provided below.

Attribution to LegalZoom.com with this graphic.

A Guide to Trademarking Your Startup

Image Credit: by twenty20.com

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