Every business has some intellectual property (IP). As a business owner, understanding your IP can be beneficial for various reasons, such as providing business advantages, facilitating the eventual sale of the company, protecting your goodwill and assets, and generating revenue streams. Below is a brief summary of some types of IP that many businesses may own.
A trademark can be a design, word, phrase, or symbol that is used to identify a business as the source of its goods or services. This could be your company name, logo, or slogan. Trademark law can also sometimes protect a product’s design or packaging. Trademarks help protect your brand and distinguish yourself from competitors. Federal trademark registration can provide many benefits, including the right to use the mark nationwide, benefits when asserting your rights against others, and the ability to use the “(R)” symbol.
Copyright protects original works of authorship. These can include your website, content made for your customers or internal purposes, videos, articles/blog posts, photographs, computer programs, and much more. Copyrights can also sometimes protect the design of a product. Copyright registration provides many benefits, including the ability to sue for infringement in federal court and the availability of statutory damages and attorneys’ fees.
Trade secrets can protect your business’s information that is generally not known or ascertainable to others and provides independent economic value or business advantages, if reasonable efforts are made to preserve its secrecy. Common examples include manufacturing methods, business plans, product formulas, and customer lists. It is important to have agreements in place to confirm that your employees and contractors must keep this information secret.
Utility patents protect new inventions, such as machines, processes, and goods. There are also design patents, which can protect the design of a product. Obtaining a patent prevents others from making, selling, using, or importing the patented item.
You may also have digital assets, which can include your company’s domain name and social media accounts. You might even have more advanced assets, such as non-fungible tokens or cryptocurrencies. It is important to have documents in place that confirm your ownership of these assets and the content on them, especially if you have employees or contractors registering or maintaining them.
As you can see, every business has some form of IP. If you are interested in more information about identifying or protecting your company’s IP, an IP attorney could provide more information.
Adrienne Phillips can be reached at (941) 329-6601 or [email protected]. Elizabeth Stamoulis can be reached at (941) 552-5546 or estamoulis@ WilliamsParker.com.
Phone: 941.366.4800 | Website: www.WilliamsParker.com