As a business owner, your intellectual property is your lifeline and needs to be protected accordingly. It can be a confusing issue and many individuals don’t seem to have a solid grasp of how, why, and when to protect their products, or if it’s even necessary. Let’s explore what you need to know to protect your brand.
Business Name Registration
Upon starting your business, you most often are required to register the business name with a state-run regulatory body as part of obtaining a certificate to do business. Registering a business name in your state only allows you to claim the business name in that specific state, not nationwide. Additionally, it does not give you any trademark rights, so another party might be able to force you to change your business name if it infringes on their trademark. If you are operating a sole proprietorship under a name different from your own, you may be required to apply for a DBA (Doing Business as), which specifies who actually runs the company.
Domain Name Registration
In order to promote a website for your business, you will need to choose and register a domain name to use (ex: www.domain.com). This should be simple, easy to remember, and related to the company name. Use WHOIS to determine if a domain name is already registered. Domain names can be registered for at least year, and it must be renewed before it expires. Keep in mind that registering a domain name does not provide trademark rights. If you register a domain name that infringes on another entity’s trademark, you might be required to give it up.
A trademark encompasses words, phrases, symbols, or designs that identify goods or services that come from a particular source. This provides nationwide protection from the brand name and logo you use on products that you sell or services you offer. To see whether a mark is available, go to the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). Your trademark does not expire, but be sure to use your mark in a way that is unique to your brand.
A copyright protects original work including music, movies, books, plays, poetry, computer software, code, and website content. Any original work is automatically protected under copyright law and no one can reproduce it without permission. While you are not required to display the copyright symbol, doing so provides extra benefits.
When starting your business and creating a website to showcase your products and services, it is imperative that you protect your intellectual property. Through carefully reviewing the above components, you can ensure that another individual or business cannot profit off your hard work. Brian Cozzi, Inc. realizes the importance of domains, trademarks, and copyrights, taking time to incorporate any necessary components into your customized site. To learn more about how you can protect your business, contact us today!
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Business
So you want to start a business but you don’t know the steps to take to get there. Entrepreneurship is no simple journey. It entails a significant amount of time, hard work, failure, and rebuilding. But a true entrepreneur is not afraid of the struggles that come with such a rewarding endeavor. If you are ready to start your company, there are quite a few things to know and steps to follow before taking the plunge.
Being a small business owner means wearing a lot of hats ranging from a customer service representative, accountant, and project manager. This leaves little room to focus on marketing. One of the best ways to market your business is through local press coverage. The primary goal is to attain new customers and make your business known. While media coverage is a goal of many businesses, it is a tedious task.