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How to Protect Your Intellectual Property
If you own a business, chances are you have intellectual property. Intellectual property, or IP, refers to the ideas and creations that are yours. Unique inventions, images and designs that you have come up with fall into this category. Even your business name and logo are considered your property.
Because you intellectual property is valuable, you naturally should protect it. Without that protection anyone could come along and use your idea or name in their business, costing you customers and money. There are laws that protect intellectual property, but not everyone understands them. Here are some steps to take to protect your intellectual property from others and to ensure the future success of your own business.
1. Know something about the different rights. There are different ways you can protect your intellectual property. For example:
- Trademark. You can trademark a name, symbol or logo that you use in connection with your business. With a trademark, you alone are able to legally use the name, logo, etc.
- Copyright is protection for your original work like books, videos or songs. It prevents others from distributing and selling your original works.
- Patents are what protect inventions. A patent prevents others from making, selling or using your invention.
2. Talk to an attorney. One of the first things you should do is talk to an Arizona business attorney about your rights and how you can go about protecting your property. An attorney who is experienced in intellectual property can evaluate your business and properties and advise you on whether you would need a trademark, copyright or patent to protect yourself. Look for an attorney who has experience in your business niche; an understanding of your industry and how things work will work in your favor and knowledge about how to avoid common pitfalls and errors.
3. Plan early. When it comes to protecting your intellectual property, it is best to start planning as soon as possible. If your business is just starting out, discuss protecting your intellectual property with your attorney from the get-go. If you are already in business, it’s not too late to get your ideas protected. Talk to your attorney about getting them protected now. Generally, the quicker you move, the greater your protection will be.
If you own a business you have intellectual property. Even if that property is nothing more than your business name and logo, it is still yours. Prevent others from using, selling or copying your intellectual property by protecting it with a trademark, copyright or patent. Talk to your attorney today about what you need to do.
Written By: Brad Denton
1930 N. Arboleda, Suite 201
Mesa, Arizona 85213
40 N. Central Avenue, Suite 1400-1532
Phoenix, AZ 85004
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