Intellectual Property: Are You Protecting What’s Yours?

The secrets to the success of your business are something that you want to guard carefully. After all, if you had a particularly good idea or you have developed a strong enough brand to stand out in the market, then why should someone get to copy your hard work without doing any of their own? You can be legally protected against someone else simply stealing your ideas and using them for your own. However, sometimes, you need to do a little more legwork to ensure that this is the chase. Here, we’re going to look at the types of intellectual property and what you should do to make sure you’re using it right.

Source – Pixabay License

Securing what’s yours

When it comes to aspects that are wholly unique to your business, such as articles or media that you have articled, if someone tries to steal it and use it as their own, this is a clear breach of copyright law. However, with copyrights, you have to make sure that you take the time to file it. One of the things about copyrights is that you don’t have to actually use or publish media in order to copyright it. There is some wiggle room when it comes to things like fair use and derivative works but, in general, people cannot simply use your copyrighted materials for their own and certainly can’t pass them off as their own without repercussions.

Own your innovations

It’s not just ideas and media that you can legally protect. If you have designed a particular product or service that is wholly unique and offers new solutions to the market, then you can take the time to patent it. Patents exist to legally say who is the inventor of something. A lot of times, people think of patents as it relates to machinery, but it can include parts, components, and even things like the compositions of medicine. Usually, when you patent something, others can use it, but they need to pay a fee and give credit, working in collaboration with you.

Your standards and practices

When it comes to certain aspects of your business, especially your brand identity, you may not be able to copyright them. For instance, the name of the business, the logo, and the visual scheme that you use for your brand may not be able to be copyrighted. They may, however, be trademarks of your business. Trademarks, unlike copyrights, don’t always have to be registered. In some cases, proof that you have been publicly using certain brand identifiers for long enough for someone else to copy it can be enough for it to count as a trademark. That said, preparing a trademark application for your name, logo, or anything else is always a good idea. As is checking the trademark database to make sure that you’re not trying to use something that’s already taken.

If you’re uncertain about any aspect of IP law or you want to make doubly sure that you’re protected, getting legal help should be your first instinct. Don’t try to finesse the law for yourself.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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One comment

  1. I just wanted to say thank you for this informational post. I agree to the points you laid out.

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