Many businesses are creators. What they create may vary — products, podcasts, text, stories, images, and everything else — but the baseline fact is the same: the business creates something in an effort to further their business endeavors.
Creative businesses are incredibly common, but they also include an element of risk. When a business is genuinely creative and innovative, they are always vulnerable to less scrupulous individuals who may wish to steal that creativity. The theft of intellectual property is a serious problem for creative businesses, so if you are just venturing into this world, it’s one you need to take seriously.
Thankfully, you are not alone in this fight: you have three helpful assistants who can help to protect your business’ intellectual property, and by reading on, you’ll know exactly how to use them to the greatest effect.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that copyright only applies to certain forms of intellectual property. Work that falls into the following categories is suitable for copyright:
Some other forms of intellectual works may also be suitable, but you would have to verify this on an individual basis.
From a business perspective, IP that is protected by copyright includes the text on your website or product packaging, any photographers taken by you or business staff, advertising jingles, and other forms of creative work.
Copyright is automatically granted to the creator. You can register a copyright claim if you so wish, but this is entirely voluntary, and you are still protected by copyright legislation even if you do not do this.
The key legislation regarding copyright is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has been in operation for over 20 years now. If your business’ copyright is violated, look for the best DMCA takedown service to assist you in removing the duplicate version of your business’ intellectual property.
A trademark helps to protect goods and services that your company may provide. You will most often see the trademark symbol used on product names or slogans.
However, there is one issue that most people misunderstand about trademarks— you do not have to register them. Anyone can use the famous ™ after a brand name, service, or logo; there’s no formal application or approval process. However, as this confusion is so common, there is a chance that using the ™ may dissuade someone from stealing your intellectual property anyway, so it’s worth trying!
If you want to ensure protection, then you’ll need to upgrade to…
A registered trademark has to be formally registered and granted. When this is granted, it is legally enforceable. There are a few points to consider if you find someone has violated your registered trademark but, in most cases, you will be able to file a cease and desist order that requires a competitor stop using your trademarked item or slogan.
The three tools above are the key components that allow you to protect the intellectual property of your creative business. If you do find your business’ IP is infringed upon, don’t be afraid to use them: always be confident to claim what is rightfully yours!