If you have developed something that you are proud of, then it is entirely understandable that you would want to share your creation with others. You may have written a song you want friends and family to hear or created a new logo for your business. Whatever you have made, getting credit and recognition for the things that you create is a great feeling.
A major part of getting proper credit is being compensated if something that you created was used as a means to bring in revenue. Any time something that you created is used to bring in money for someone else, you should receive compensation for that. Whether a friend used a song you wrote for a project or a product you made is being sold in stores, protecting your intellectual property is essential.
What Is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property is essentially any asset that was developed directly from your brain. These assets are often referred to as “intangible” because they are not physical products. As a business owner, understanding what aspects of your business could be considered intellectual property and then be eligible for more protection is an important part of building a successful business.
What Are Examples of Intellectual Property?
There are many different things that could be classified as intellectual property. These are assets of your business that belong to you fully and should be protected. Some of the most common examples are:
- Music, both written and recorded
- Literary works such as short stories or novels
- Artistic works that could include painting, digital art, or fiber art
- Symbols that are part of your art or represent your business
- Business names and logos that were created by you
- Recipes specific to your business
- Inventions that you have developed
Whatever your intellectual property might be, it is important to ensure that it is protected. An experienced attorney familiar with intellectual property can guide you through the necessary steps of protecting your intellectual property. Being aware of laws and regulations surrounding intellectual property is a great way to protect yourself and your business.
Why Should Intellectual Property Matter for Your Business?
If you are a business owner, it is essential that you understand the importance of intellectual property. You invest a great deal of time, attention, and money into creating and developing the ideas and products that keep your business running. It is important to have protections and safeguards in place to ensure that you receive all necessary credit and compensation for the use of your intellectual property.
Leaving yourself and your intellectual property vulnerable can lead to financial and social problems in the future. Another business owner may like your business marketing and decide that they want to use your intellectual property to advertise their own business. Similarly, a thief or hacker may impersonate you by using your company logo online and ruining your reputation. If you have not clearly laid out the necessary protections for your intellectual property, then you may not be able to defend yourself legally in these situations and will miss out on profits and growth.
Do You Need to Protect Your Intellectual Property?
The decision of whether or not to protect your intellectual property is entirely up to you. You are not required to put any protections in place, but they can benefit you in many ways. One way to determine whether or not you need to find some way to protect your intellectual property is to decide how it will be used.
If you write a story that you want to share with friends and family but do not necessarily want to have published, then you will likely not have to worry about intellectual property rights. On the other hand, if you have developed a new product that you think could be successful, it is a good idea to put the correct protections in place to keep other developers from profiting off of your idea.
Determining what your product is, how it will be used, and how you can make it available to the public is only the first step. Once you have made those decisions, you can move forward and choose the best way to protect your intellectual property.
How Can You Protect Your Intellectual Property?
There is a seemingly endless list of things that could be considered intellectual property. Most of these things are intangible, meaning they are not physical products that can be purchased. Due to the non-physical nature of intellectual property, it can be difficult to navigate how various rights are split up among the owners of the property.
The best way to determine the breakdown of rights is to put protections in place ahead of time. The four most common are:
- Patents are a means of protecting the intellectual property associated with an invention. When an inventor holds the patent rights to any or all of their inventions, it means that they are solely responsible for deciding how and when their product is used. Patents can be granted for small or large-scale projects. Depending on the nature of your invention, you can either apply for a design patent, a utility patent, or a plant patent.
- Copyrights are similar to patents, but these protections are put in place to guard intellectual property. Anything protected by copyright does have to be tangible, as copyrights do not protect ideas or methods. There can be a number of things that are protected under copyright. A few of the most common are films, books, music, and architecture.
- Trademarks are a way for brands and other businesses to protect the visuals and text that are associated with them. This is a way to ensure that no other businesses or individuals are falsely representing the brand. You are able to get a trademark for a logo, a certain font, or a shape, among other things.
- Trade secrets can be one of the trickier aspects of intellectual property rights. These are pieces of information that are specific to your business and could give competitors an advantage if they were found out. Trade secrets might include recipes, formulas, or designs that are unique to your company.
If you have intellectual property that you want to protect, contact the team at Blake & Ayaz for assistance today.