As a Small Business Owner, Do You Understand Intellectual Property?

As a small business owner, intellectual property may be one of those areas that is about as ‘clear as mud,’ an aspect of business you really don’t understand.  To put it simply, intellectual property is a work or invention of the mind, something such as a design or idea sparked from creativity.  As experienced Los Angeles intellectual property attorneys, we want to help you understand the basics of IP, and the importance of protecting your logo, designs, images, and other creative works through trademarks, copyrights, or patents.

Suppose you are the owner of a clothing boutique.  Not only does your boutique have a name, you may also have a unique logo, distinctive theme or decor that sets your boutique apart, or a slogan that captures the attention of potential customers.  Perhaps you even went as far as to have a point-of-sale system custom designed to maintain competitiveness.  All of these things would be considered intellectual property.

Logos and slogans are often brand identifiers; that is, consumers often associate with or recognize a brand when they see a logo or hear a jingle on the radio.  It’s important to protect your intellectual property from theft, infringement, or other violations.  Whether you protect it through a patent, trademark, or copyright depends largely on the type or types of intellectual property you have in your small business.

A patent is necessary when a business develops a product or process that is in some way better or unique, or more useful than similar products; it must be protected to maintain your competitive advantage.

Copyrights are used for protecting audio and visual recordings, software, musical, literary, or dramatic works or other intellectual works or works of authorship.  While using a copyright symbol is essential, you may want to file for protection as well, as this can simplify enforcing your copyright should it ever be violated.

Trademarks are used to protect a product’s name, so that other companies cannot sell a product using the same name, and therefore confuse consumers as to which product they are purchasing.

Ultimately, having others steal, infringe upon, or otherwise violate your company’s intellectual property can negatively impact the success of your business, which is why it is critical to protect it to the greatest extent possible.

While this simplifies it somewhat, the subject of intellectual property can still be quite complex, which is why it’s best to consult with a Los Angeles business lawyer to ensure your intellectual property is not only identified, but properly protected.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 7th, 2013 at 5:01 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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