The rate at which technology is evolving affects all aspects of owning a business. This includes the need for small businesses to secure the rights to their intellectual property through filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Some small business owners are under the impression that their business does not need to secure trademarks, patents and copyrights, but these items are extremely important to protecting a business’s brand, growth and success.
Trademarks serve as protection for your brand. This encompasses not only your name, but also your logo, slogan, branding on your products and more. Having legal rights to the components that make up your brand will help to differentiate your goods and services from competitors and copycats, protect the value of your business and stimulate growth.
A brand can serve as a main deciding factor when consumers choose between two similar competitors of any size and stature. For small businesses, creating an attractive brand can be crucial to success, and thus deserves proper protection.
Copyrights are important if business is creating or authoring print materials, works of art, video, books, etc. For works created by an individual, copyright protections last for the duration of the creator’s life. For works created for hire or under a pseudonym, protections last for more than 100 years from the date of creation.
For small businesses who are producing original works of art, copyrights are essential to acquire. These protections can ensure that only your business, and others authorized to do so, may recreate and distribute your work.
If you are an inventor, or you have developed a methodology, process or idea that could be relevant to other businesses, it is important that you apply for patent protection. Patents can help to prevent other businesses or inventors from developing similar products, methods or technologies for the purpose of sales.
You may not think that small businesses have a need for patent protections. However, consider small businesses that manufacture goods, such as craft breweries. Often, small manufacturing companies develop methods of performing routine tasks or packaging goods that can revolutionize entire industries. It is important to patent these ideas and inventions so that your business can profit from its own ingenuity.
Imagine that you have worked tirelessly to build your business and your brand, only to find that someone else has already acquired the domain name for your business website. It may be sensible to purchase the domain for your business name at inception, rather than wait until your business is operational, as this may ensure that your digital brand matches that of your physical business.
Intellectual property is a valuable asset and an important component of any business. For small businesses, protecting intellectual property can mean gaining a better competitive advantage, promoting growth and achieving successful results. For more information on how you or your business can secure your intellectual property contact Colleen Helmlinger at Snee, Lutche, Helmlinger & Spielberger, P.A.