Business owners’ attentions are typically focused on perfecting products, paying the bills and serving customers. However, taking the time to protect a company’s intellectual property can help the owner secure its future. Below are some intellectual property protection tips for business owners.
Choose a Protectable, Enforceable Brand
While it is easy to select branding that tells customers exactly what a service or product is or what it does, such brands are hard to protect or enforce. Choosing an unusual, unique and memorable brand can provide a company owner with a strong, easily enforceable trademark.
Check to See if the Brand is Already in Use
It can be extremely risky to launch a brand without checking other parties’ intellectual property rights. If a brand has already been protected or is in use, a company’s investment in promotional materials could be wasted, and the owner may face legal action. It is vital for the owner to determine whether the brand can be used before the business or product is launched.
Secrecy is the Key to Design or Patent Protection
If a business owner has a new product or service that can be patent protected, they should not show it without having a non-disclosure agreement. Disclosure to third parties without an NDA will ruin the product’s novelty, and it could prevent the business owner from obtaining design or patent protection.
Launching a product without determining others’ rights is a big risk. Even if there are no plans to file design or patent applications, doing an FTO (freedom to operate) search can help the business owner ensure that the product can be sold in a certain market.
Free Copyright Protection
Copyright is a type of protection that’s free in most markets, and it automatically exists in most creative works. Protection is fully achieved if the copyright symbol, author’s name and creation date are included on all work.
Contact an IP Advisor
An intellectual property advisor can help business owners devise protection strategies that suit their companies. By obtaining advice that fits these strategies, owners can protect their businesses now and in the future.