As a business owner, protecting your brand should be your top priority. When you’re starting a company it’s a good idea to take the appropriate legal steps to make sure your business is off to a good start. This is true for any company, especially today where companies can experience all sorts of issues online that they wouldn’t have faced years ago. Here are five legal tips that will help you protect your company’s brand online.
1. Establishing your business
The first step to legally protecting your business is making sure it’s a formally established entity. This means choosing a business structure and setting it up. You can choose to incorporate, set your business up as an LLC, sole proprietorship, or general partnership. It all depends on your needs and which scenario best suits your business. Most states require that you formally establish your business before you can begin to file for legal protection on things like your business title.
2. Find an IP attorney
While finding an intellectual property attorney is not absolutely necessary, working with one is extremely helpful. Intellectual property attorneys help business owners with their patent, copyright, trademark research. The research for these processes can be highly complex and detailed, and it’s great to have an expert on hand to provide advice and navigate the waters. Obviously hiring an attorney costs money, but the legal protection and peace of mind is totally worth the expense.
Patents protect entrepreneurs’ unique inventions and processes. If you’re running a business online, patenting is especially important because there are numerous copycats out there! If you’ve spent significant time working with an intellectual property attorney doing patent research and developing your unique product, the last thing you would want is to have to go back to the drawing board because an online copy cat stole your idea.
Copyrighting is similar to patenting, but instead of protecting an invention, you’re protecting something you’ve written such as a book, a blog, or a song. The majority of online businesses have blogs, so copyrighting your material is an important step for protecting your business. The Internet provides a wealth of information, and there are always people out there who may be interested in stealing valuable information from businesses and passing it off as their own. By copyrighting your materials, you’re protecting your brand and your business from legal threats.
Have you spent significant time thinking about your business name and developing a distinctive logo? Chances are if you are serious about your business that the answer is probably yes. Trademarking protects branded items such as your name, logo, and any unique catch phrases you may have developed. As with patenting and copyrighting, it’s best to work with an intellectual property attorney on the trademarking process.
In business, your brand is everything. So you want to make sure to protect it! You want to make sure that your business name, logo, and all those products you’ve spent countless hours developing and writing remain protected. By establishing your business as a formal entity and working with an intellectual property attorney on the patenting, copyrighting, and trademarking processes, you can ensure that you are safe from potential legal threats.
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Brett Gold writes on legal issues for sites like Hays Firm. He has been giving legal counsel to business owners for several years. He spends time with his wife and on vacations has backpacked all over the U.S.A.