Protect Your Creativity
By Alexander Gordon
As an entrepreneur, you are undoubtedly blessed with the ability to come up with new ideas for products and services. Sometimes, a competitor comes up with a similar idea and manages to make money out of it before you do. A great deal of planning, money, time and effort are required to turn these ideas into invention and innovation.
Due to the often-enormous investment in both capital and brain power to turn an idea into a reality, it becomes essential to get reasonable legal protection. That’s why owners need intellectual property rights.
Intellectual Property Rights:
To secure rights over intellectual properties like literary work, animated movies, photographs and logos, the work must be original and should be presented in some tangible format like a book or audio CD.
The following tools provide right over intellectual property:
Patents: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office give protection to your innovative business methods and new products at legal costs ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. If you get your product patented, no one else can make or sell your invention without paying you a royalty.
While applying for patent, remember that your idea must be new and innovative and should not have been made public in any way.
Copyrights: These rights provide protection to the authors of literary, dramatic, musical and other intellectual works like audio-visual performances. You can get your work registered with the U.S. Copyright Office by paying a $45 basic fee. It is essential to prominently display the copyright symbol and a statement along with your work to avoid the infringement.
Trademarks: Any words, symbols, logos, graphics or images that create an identity for a brand can also be protected by trademarking them. A trademark application can be submitted online as well as in person. A trademark must be unique and original to get legal protection.
You can get reasonable legal protection for trade secrets as well. You can get it done by getting a non-disclosure agreement signed by everyone who knows your business secrets.
These days, it is easy to access any famous website, but, no one can copy images or data from these websites as they are also protected by the law. “Cyber- squishing” laws stop other web sites who try to imitate the trademarked web sites’ names. Companies can also get their products registered in other countries where they have viable markets.
Though registering your intellectual property is not mandatory, it just makes sense. Unless you are protected, you cannot claim damages, so it’s better to get your creative and innovative works registered. After all, protection is bliss.
You can also get help from lawyers and legal experts’ web sites for a more detailed understanding of the registration procedure.
Alexander Gordon is a writer for www.smallbusinessconsulting.com - The Small Business Consulting Community. Sign-up for the free success steps newsletter and get our booklet valued at $24.95 for free as a special bonus. The newsletter provides daily strategies on starting and significantly growing a business.