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How to Protect Your Intellectual Property as a Small Business

Small businesses often get launched with little capital and only a few team members. And in some cases, it starts with an original idea. A concept that has never been done yet, or perhaps, a business name that no one has thought of before.

And since the primary objective of establishing an enterprise is to generate income and revenue, most companies tend to focus on that and their business’s potential growth, often forgetting to register their trade names and trademarks for their protection.

The need usually strikes them when somebody tries to copy their brand and sells merchandise as if it came from them. Whether you’re concerned about an individual or entity infringing your trademark and Intellectual Property (IP), or perhaps, just about to start up your own company, you might want to consider consulting with a Best Intellectual Property Protection Lawyer in Orange County and other similar law firms specializing in IP protection and enforcement to learn more about what you can do.

Furthermore, here are some things small businesses can do to protect their Intellectual Property (IP) assets and resources.

1. Register Your Intellectual Property (IP)

The first thing any small business should do to protect its intellectual property (IP) assets, brand names, and trademarks is to register them with the IP and trademark registration authorities. You need to get registered to get the full protection of US trademark law for both your brick-and-mortar operations and eCommerce store.

This process would also let you know whether someone else has already registered something similar to your trademarks and whether you can indeed register your trademarks. This involves quite a number of requirements and a fixed process of application, verification, examination, publication, registration, and then issue of the certificate of registration. The easiest way to do this is to bring someone in that has lots experience in trademark registration canada and can handle the process with ease.

Here are some of your IP assets and trademarks that you should consider protecting:

Company or Trade Name

One of your most important IP assets is your company name or trade name. People buy products because of their brand name or product name. When they’ve seen a high-quality product, they remember its name and the name of the company that made it.

Product Names and Brand Names

Another IP resource aside from your business or tradename is your brand names and product names. You should protect them from any potential or actual infringements.

Varieties or Versions of Brand Names

You should also be on the lookout for entities or individuals who might copy versions or varieties of your brand names.

Logos

Perhaps one of the most commonly infringed IP assets is your company logo. As such, you should also give priority to protecting it.

Advertising Slogans

If you’ve been using advertising slogans, they can also be covered by IP protection if you register them.

2. Secure Online Equivalents of IP Assets

The next thing that small businesses have to do to protect their IP assets, resources, and trademarks is to secure the online equivalents of their IP assets. Because aside from trademarks, online stores, websites, and eCommerce platforms have also become potent drivers of sales and revenues.

Businesses often use their trade names and trademarks as the domain names of their websites. They also use the same trade names and trademarks as the names of their social media channels, social media pages, tweeting and photo-sharing accounts, and even names of their mobile apps.

But domain name registration is a first to come-first to get it basis. Some people who have nothing to do with your business name sometimes register these names, hoping they could sell it to the business who would need it because they’re the ones who are doing business under that specific trade name or trademark.

And with the digitalization of marketing and sales, it’s become even more important for your small business to reserve and register your trade name and trademark in as many of the popular online platforms as possible such as eCommerce sites, online retail platforms, social media platforms, tweeting and instant photo-sharing platforms, among others. This would also contribute to creating an online image that you alone own the trade name and trademark of the name and style in which you’re doing business.

3. Monitor and Report Incidents of IP Infringements

You should know and be able to identify the red flags you have to watch out for, such as reports that a business or individual has registered a business with a name that is confusingly similar to yours.

When you receive such a report, you might want to start an investigation to identify the people in charge, where they do business, where their principal office address is, and what products they’ve lined up to sell. You should also be on the lookout for any websites, eCommerce stores, or social media pages that they might have created to start promoting their products.

You need to gather more information and evidence to build a case against them so that you’ll have proof of their violations and infringements if things come to a head and you have to haul them to court to enforce IP protection.

Conclusion

Small businesses should consider protecting their IP assets, resources, and trademarks from the startup stage. This is important, especially with the digitalization of marketing and sales.

Simple website names could drive millions of sales inquiries in a day when things go well. And with a little bit of creativity and perseverance, the owners can even franchise their tradename.

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