How IP protection ensures your small business thrives
Small businesses need to leverage every advantage available to them if they want to survive in the short term and thrive in the long term.
Intellectual property laws are a powerful ally in this context, and yet it is easy to overlook the opportunity to protect up and coming companies that they afford.
To remedy this, here is a quick overview of what IP legislation means for organizations of all sizes, but with a particular focus on small businesses.
Building your brand identity
Branding is essential in the modern age, even for local businesses that have ambitions of growth and success.
It is not simply a case of coming up with a compelling and unique brand identity; you also need to shield this from exploitation and misrepresentation by third parties.
This is where trademarks come into play, as the law automatically grants you the exclusive right to the use of the main elements that signify your brand, whether that might be your business name, your logo or even product taglines.
While trademark protection is innate, it still makes sense to register yours officially, with firms like Heer Law helping small businesses to navigate the tricky registration process.
A registered trademark is a useful tool to dissuade would-be infringement and misuse of the elements that make your brand identifiable.
Defending your most valuable assets
The IP which belongs to your business could well be the asset with the most value that you are responsible for preserving. This also means that if it is stolen or compromised in some other way, it will cost you.
The law again gives you the ability to both dissuade anyone else from misappropriating your IP, and to take action if warnings are not heeded.
In the case of patents, for example, you can secure the unique inventions that have been developed in your business, ensuring that any other company which wishes to use them will need to pay licensing fees to you.
When it comes to copyright, which applies to artistic and creative works including everything from pop songs to software programs, a similar state of affairs to trademarks exists. Copyright is enforceable even if you do not register the works you want to protect, but it makes sense to take this step because it will be simpler to defend your legal rights if infringement occurs.
Small businesses which want to grow rapidly and fulfill their potential will need investment to achieve this. Investors will have more faith in a business if they not only know that it has valuable IP assets to its name, but that it also appreciates how to protect them.
By demonstrating that you have deliberately registered trademarks, filed patents and recorded copyrights from day one, you will indicate to prospective investors that you really believe in the worth of your IP.
Accepting the inevitable
No matter which industry you occupy or what type of IP is part of your business strategy, the fact is that it will almost certainly come under attack at some point in the future.
Indeed the more success your business achieves, the greater the likelihood that a third party will attempt to profit from your IP without following the proper channels or remunerating you in the process.
It is therefore better to accept that you will inevitably have to indulge in IP litigation further down the line, and thus do all you can today to make sure you are prepared for this eventuality.
Getting help from legal experts is definitely the best way to go about this, as otherwise it is a process rife with obstacles.