Identifying intellectual property is one of the most important things a new business can do, even though it usually isn’t done as thoroughly as it should be. That’s probably because some businesses think most things other than a logo aren’t really worth protecting. The truth is, you probably have more business items than you think that should be scoped out and protected to develop an IP portfolio.
In the age of piracy and the avid stealing of other media properties, consider how much you can protect in your business if you register them with a trademark, copyright or patent.
Scoping Out Your Trademarks
The name of your business will hopefully be unique enough where everyone else will want to emulate it. To protect your unique title, be sure to file for a trademark. This also goes for the names of your products, plus your logo. After all the creative work you put into your logo, you should never skip trademarking it in the chance someone decides to create a logo that’s a little too close to yours.
Finding things you can trademark doesn’t have to stop there either. Even the design of your products can be protected as an intellectual property. Also, don’t forget to trademark any slogans you use in your business as part of the branding process.
Things You Can Copyright
Because copyrights do have limitations, some businesses might shy away from finding things that can be registered with the copyright office. A business that does more creative work will need to deal with copyrights, especially if the business writes books, creates DVDs or photographs. Some businesses forget that digital content can also be copyrighted, even if things can get complicated when others borrow those digital works online. Fair use can sometimes come into play if the use is associated with commentary and not for financial gain.
It’s best if you take the time to register your copyrights just so any violations will be dealt with easier in court. Your website material is already copyrighted the minute it’s created without registration. Registering just merely proves it on paper for faster litigation when necessary.
Finding Things to Patent
Any kind of tangible invention your business creates needs to be patented as soon as you can. While patents can be an overly protracted process, the chances of someone else creating the same thing could happen and lead to legal battles later. You can patent specific machines, a process you use in your products and even non-tangible concepts used in conducting customer service.
Figuring Out Who Created the Intellectual Property
Sometimes a business isn’t always directly responsible for an intellectual property. Perhaps a contractor or an employee created something individually. In that regard, any trademark, copyright or patent would belong to them rather than the business as a whole. This should be clarified so there’s no confusion with potential for lawsuits down the road.
Even if intellectual property can be a future financial boon to a business, keep in mind finances can be drained dealing with litigation over who gets proper due credit.