What is intellectual property? Simply put, every creation of the mind can be classified as intellectual property. Whether it is a simple four-line verse or a complex formula, any intangible creation fits this definition. For most businesses, the intangible intellectual property is often much more valuable than tangible assets.
Whether you have thought up the perfect name and symbol for your business or invented the ideal process to manufacture a product, you need to protect this intellectual property to benefit from it. Protecting this asset is the only way to ensure that no one else is capable of profiteering from your ideas and inventions.
Let’s try to find the best solutions that you need to protect intellectual property.
Whether you have invented a new product or a new process, you need to make sure you get its property right. This is possible with a patent. If you have invented something new, non-obvious and useful, you need to apply for a patent with the US Patent and Trademarks Office.
How does a patent help? Well, it gives you the sole proprietorship of your invention. This grant implies that no one else would be able to exploit, manufacture or market it without your permission. If someone does, you can take a legal step against them. The patent over your invention is applicable for 20 years.
If you want, you may also want to patent your invention in other foreign countries. Once done, everyone who wants to use your invention would need to get it licensed from you. Keep in mind, getting a patent involves a lengthy, complicated process. Appoint an experienced and specialized lawyer to handle the task.
Anyone would recognize the Nike ‘Swoosh’. Nike has got its corporate trademark protected. Similarly, if you have thought up a name for your product or for your business, designed a logo or a symbol or decided the colors for it, you need to get them trademark protection too.
What does a trademark do? It makes your business and brand stand apart from others. Just like Nike’s ‘Swoosh’. You can protect words, symbols, colors, sounds and anything signature of your business and brand with this protection. No one else can use the same when you get this protection for this specific category of intellectual property.
It is easy to begin. Look up the database of the US Patent and Trademarks Office to make sure your chosen trademark isn’t already there. If it isn’t, register for it online. You can renew it to perpetuity; hence, you need not to bother about someone else taking your business logo at some later time.
You need to create engaging content for your business to attract potential customers. This may include how-to guides for your blog, photographs, and videos for your social media network and so on. Each of these creations is copyright protected by their nature.
Why do you need to register for copyright protection then? The reason is simple; every creative and original written work is copyright protected for a limited period. On the other hand, if you register with the US Copyright Office, this extends considerably. The Library of Congress extends protection for the life of the creator and 70 years more.
As the owner of the copyright protection, you have the right to use the creative and original work for profit; you can sell it. You can also make derivative works from it or produce it in some other creative format. If your business involves creative assets, make sure you have this protection to enjoy their benefits.
With a little effort, it is possible to safeguard your intellectual property and use it.
Once you have consolidated your right over the intellectual property, you can start focusing more on the business aspect. You need to transform into an entrepreneur from an inventor or creator. How do you do this? Start with the basics – prepare a business plan, accumulate funds, identify marketing channels and do the groundwork.
You also need to determine the business structure that would be appropriate for your endeavor. Sometimes, an inventor or creator is too focused on the invention or creation to pay attention to the business. In such a circumstance, a partnership may be advantageous. However, consider its pros and cons before you make any decision.