Why Should Small Businesses Protect Their Intellectual Property?
There has been a tremendous rise in small businesses with the pandemic, whether it’s on Etsy on their own websites or running their business from home. A lot of merchants have come into their own. But, what happens when Intellectual Property gets involved? Your business may have intellectual property (IP) – copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets. Basically, a lot of things that make your small business what it is! So, you have Intellectual Property Rights! These intellectual property rights give it the exclusive rights to use your invention or creation commercially, sell, and license it. Your ideas are your currency. So, it must be protected.
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property (IP) is defined as any type of idea, information, design, invention, logo, symbol, image, or name issued in commerce. If it has value, someone is likely to copy it. If your IP is infringed on (stolen), there are rules and regulations in place that can be used to help you take your case to court and to protect property rights, but here are some tips on other protections you can use to take care of your business.
Automatic protections – this means no one can use a piece of work without the owner’s permission. There are two types:
Copyright: All pieces of writing, literary works, art, films, photography, TV, music, and more are instantly protected under the law. This includes all work that is created by employees for the business. For the best protection against infringement, you should register your copyright with the copyright office.
Design right – the shapes and configurations of all objects are automatically protected under law for 15 years after it is first created or 10 years after it was first sold.
What Protections are available for Small Businesses?
Intellectual Property Lawyer
Using an intellectual property lawyer, you can implement intellectual property laws. They assist clients with asserting ownership of their assets, using patents, copyrights, trademarks, licensing agreements, and more. They also represent clients upon whose intellectual property other parties have infringed. Having someone with experience fighting on your side for your livelihood is the most essential protection a small business could have.
It is good to register company names, brand names, product names, and logos as trademarked. It takes four months for an application to be registered.
It is essential to secure your domain name, Twitter handles, and Instagram handles for your company or brand’s websites. There may be opportunities to monitor the Intellectual Property Office, which may try to sit on URLs and social media accounts and demand a lot of money to release it to you.
Patents are designed to protect inventions and products, for example, machines, tools, or medicine. It takes about five years to decide to be made by the intellectual property office, which has to investigate the evidence submitted and ensure that the patent does not already exist.
The bottom line is, it is always better to protect your business to lower the possibility of theft, your business is your livelihood, and your ideas are your currency. They must be kept safe and protected from infringement.