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4 In Legal/ Startup Life

How To Protect Your Intellectual Property

Sharing the importance of protecting your intellectual property in the digital age we live in.

One of the most overlooked aspects of owning a company is the legal aspect, in my opinion. Most people know they need to register their legality that’s about it. They don’t think further than maybe getting their “Doing Business As” form with their city. Which is a huge mistake. You never know when all your hard work is going to pay off and you business becomes known worldwide. Then it’s too late, your business unprotected. 

What is Intellectual Property?

a work or invention that is the result of creativity, such as a manuscript or a design, to which one has rights and for which one may apply for a patent, copyright, trademark, etc.

There are so many creatives in this world not realizing they have a gold mind of amazing ideas that they need to claim so others will not capitalize on it. Too many people want to be first to market versus protecting their business legally. Don’t worry about being first to market. Worry about your idea, product, concept, or more being protected and you owning the rights to it.

How can you protect your intellectual property?

There are several routes you as a smaller business can embark on to protect your intellectual property. The most common one is poor man’s copyright.

A method of using registered dating by the post service, a notary public or other highly trusted source to date intellectual property, thereby helping to establish that the material has been in one’s possession since a particular time. The concept is based on the notion that, in the event that such intellectual property were to be misused by a third-party, the poor-man’s copyright would at least establish a legally recognized date of possession before any proof which a third-party may possess.

Sad to say this is the one most people go with, not thinking to go a step further and actually register the copyright online with the government.

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

How to legally copyright your intellectual property?

You can go online and register your copyright by filing the appropriate documentation online depending on the type of work you are submitting to the U.S. Copyright Office. Using the online application process to file on things such as;  literary works, visual art works, performance art works, motion pictures, sound recordings, and single serials. The single filing fee for these are $35 and $55 for all other filings. You can fill out the paper work on copyright.gov.

How to legally trademark your intellectual property?

A plethora of people confuse trademark and copyrights. They are different legal entities that people exchange. A trademark is

a symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product.

You can file your trademark online in less than 2 hours if you know what you’re doing, but you need to make sure you understand a couple of things.

  • Trademarking a general phrase is not something that is easy to do
  • It can take up to 6 months for the process
  • Research to make sure someone else doesn’t have the claim that the trademark under the category you want.
  • Pricing ranges from $25-$35
  • Don’t include your .com in register

In recent months, I have seen so many creative people lose the rights to their intellectual property because they did not take the right legal steps to protect them. Furthermore, we have seen big companies such as Chanel sues Shop Jeen, Rihanna vs Topshop and Beyonce vs Etsy.

Make sure your business is covered in all areas. Don’t steal other people’s work. If someone has infringed on your copyrights or trademarks contact a lawyer immediately. Please consult a lawyer regarding trademarks and copyrights that pertain to your specific business.

How are you protecting your intellectual property such as ebooks, courses, phrases, prints, designs or more? Have you ever experienced someone stealing your stuff? How did you handle it?

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  • keeyanahall

    Thanks for this post. It’s definitely important for creatives to always make sure our work is protected. We can get disheartened when someone else takes or uses our work without permission or proper credit (been there and it sucks), so, it’s so important for us to make sure we have our legal ducks in a row!

    • imperfctconcept

      Yes, so many times our ducks are not in the row. That is the problem. Just because you create it doesn’t stop there. Right now, my legal protection fees are at $2K this is without even the lawyer fees added. I want my businesses assets protected. Most don’t think of their stuff as assets.

  • Melanie S

    I’ve just opened an Ebay store and I have a logo with the name. Thinking ahead about it growing later where it’s outside of Ebay, should I trademark the logo now? Thanks for all your great business posts!

    • imperfctconcept

      Do you mean trademark your company name? I would consult with a lawyer to see what the best things for your business needs are.

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