Eureka! 4 Tips to Protect Business Innovation
Intellectual Property is the umbrella for brand names, logos, advertisements, songs, photos, software and inventions. Those innovations are valuable business assets. Here are a few tips to protect them.
1. Trademarks – The names, logos, slogans and hashtags that identify products and services are trademarks. iPhone, “Think Different” and the Apple logo are all examples.
HOLMES@LAW Tip: Conduct a clearance search BEFORE adopting a trademark. It’s much cheaper than defending a lawsuit, paying damages and rebranding your products and services after an infringement occurs.
2. Domain Names – Owning a trademark doesn’t automatically afford rights in a related domain name. For example, Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets can’t both own the www.Delta.com domain name. When choosing a mark, run a domain name search at the same time to help coordinate your marketing strategy.
HOLMES@LAW Tip: If the “dot com” domain name relating to your trademark isn’t available, try the website ww.NameMesh.com. It generates dozens of different options by adding “inc” or “llc” at the end of a company name, including a hyphen between words, or getting creative with .biz, .info and other top level domain choices.
3. Copyrights – That song beat you just can’t seem to shake is protected as a copyright. So are books, movies, photographs, paintings and even software code. Copyrights afford legal protection for creative works.
HOLMES@LAW Tip: Even after paying for a creative work like a logo, photograph, product label, or a website design, you still don’t own that copyright. Although it may be counterintuitive, it’s necessary to enter a Copyright Assignment or Work for Hire agreement to legally transfer a copyright from the “creator” to you.
4. Trade Secrets – Customer lists, sales strategies, growth projections and even formulae are trade secrets. In other words, the confidential information that provides your business with a competitive advantage is a trade secret.
HOLMES@LAW Tip: Protect trade secrets through non-disclosure agreements BEFORE sharing confidential information. Also, include non-compete and non-solicitation terms in employment contracts to help reinforce your rights.
Our goal at HOLMES@LAW is to live our slogan – Your Business Ally™. We provide pragmatic, result-driven legal advice at outstanding value. Our practice areas are Business Law & Contracts, Software & Tech, Trademark & Copyright.
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