About Me

Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Hello, I'm Karla Mitchell. Going through a legal case can be very expensive and challenging. I won't go into details, but I recently underwent my own legal battle that lasted several years. It is finally over and I successfully received a settlement, but I had to spend so much time studying law in order to play my role in my own court case. While I found a great attorney at one point, I felt completely lost initially and I don't want anyone else to experience the same thing. So I decided to create this blog for those who would like to know more about law.


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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Does Your Small Business Protect These 5 Intellectual Properties?

by Andrew Martin

Protecting your small company's assets is vital for its continued operation and success. And among these assets may be intellectual property which needs to be equally protected, even if you don't lock it up at night with a key. What are these intellectual property elements that you should ensure security for? Here are five of the most common.

1. Patents

A patent is a property right that covers an invention. Many business owners may not realize that they have crafted an invention and therefore fail to take steps to protect it from copying by competitors. If you upgrade a product that's currently on the market, such as a new type of gardening tool, you should seek a utility patent. If you change a design—even so much as changing the shape of a beer bottle—it may need a design patent. 

2. Copyrights

Most people generally associate copyrights with music and books. But really, any original written material may need copyright protection from being used inadvertently or unscrupulously. Most businesses have a website that should be copyrighted. Similarly, you might seek copyrights for a photograph, audio recordings (such as a speech), or videos made by the company. 

3. Trademarks

Your trademarks are some of the first things a retail business should have protected. Trademarks identify your products in some way—including your logo on a bottle or the distinctive color scheme used on your products. They're what people will identify with your company. 

4. Service Marks

Service marks are related to trademarks in that they identify what you offer for sale. But a service mark identifies a service rather than a tangible good. A potter might use trademarks to identify their pottery works while a dentist might craft a brand scheme (service mark) to express the quality of their dental services. 

5. Trade Secrets

Many companies undervalue intangible assets like trade secrets. These vary greatly, but they consist of a formula, process, or information that gives your company a competitive advantage. For example, a special recipe for making wine is a trade secret that could damage your competitive edge if it was released to the public. Trade secrets could also include something like a curated list of clients you've worked hard to build. 

As you can see, intellectual property may be lurking in all areas of your small business. Is it properly protected against theft, use by competitors, and public disclosure? If you're not sure, now is the time to find out. Contact a business lawyer for more information.