Protect Your Business Ideas and Innovations: A thriving business can easily be robbed of the fruits of its innovation with IP counterfeiting and infringements, making it difficult or even impossible for a business to survive. The significant amount of time a company invests in strengthening its reputation, and the resources it infuses to innovate, can be crushed in a matter of seconds with IP infringement. Therefore, there is a considerable importance to making your products and services infringement-proof through several available methods.
Here are your 4 main Legal Ways To Protect Your Business Ideas and Innovations:
A patent is essentially a right granted by the UK government to assure and fend off other companies from manufacturing, selling or using a business’ apparatus, design or software. The assurance can be achieved by filing an application with the Patent Office. The patent is issued after verifying its ingenuity. The process however, can be lengthy, with some taking two years. Once the patent is issued, you can prosecute or prevent others from copying your invention. While the company awaits the patent, it can use the “patent pending” tag on promotional materials such as flyers and advertisements to convey the exclusivity of its products.
A trademark is a symbol or notation that specifically identifies and differentiates a company’s product in the market. Shapes, building designs, ornamentation or even brand taglines can qualify as a trademark. To establish the ownership of a trademark, it is customary to initially use it during the commercial sale of goods and services, followed by prompt filing of the application at the Trademark Office. Upon confirmation of the similarity of the mark, the official registration will be granted.
A copyright can impede the duplication of any writing, artwork and computer program. The copyright for creation exists as soon as it’s created. However, if the work is disclosed in the public arena without proper notice – the symbol ©, the year it was publicised, the name of the owner, and the ownership can be forfeited. Pre or post-publication, copyright can be registered by applying to the Copyright Office. The copyright laws protect books, pamphlets or any form of conventional texts and artwork as well.
4. Trade Secrets
Trade secrets refer to those documents and information that the company keeps confidential from outsiders. The information is not disclosed during sale or advertisement of the products or services. Blueprints, recipes and customer lists belong to this category. Maintaining this secrecy is essential as protecting a company’s trade secret can prevent unlawful disclosure, acquisition, and use of the company’s trade secret by other companies.
The above-mentioned legal tools are indispensable means of protecting your ideas and products from marketplace predators. Most often, more than one legal remedy can be used to protect a single innovation or design. Intellectual property is prone to theft because it’s an integral part of a business’ revenue and growth story. Have a revolutionary idea in your head? Be cautious before discussing in unprotected space – in the hands of the wrong company or person, your rightful property can be stolen and produced in the market. Look out for my next article on unique business ideas.
Written by Stephen Taylor, Propaganda CEO