One of the worst and most frustrating things that can happen to a business is theft. Now, we are not talking about actual physical theft of equipment and resources (which, of course, is unpleasant to say the least). No, we are speaking about IP theft, specifically, your brand.
Your brand is your name, the face of your company. A business brand represents all the hard work, talent, sweat, blood, and tears invested in your work. So it’s pretty obvious why theft of this kind can be unbelievably difficult. For these reasons, it’s up to you to invest properly in safeguarding your work and your reputation.
Get a trademark
The first thing you should do is set up a trademark. Now, setting up a trademark is not easy, but it’s very much worth the effort. First of all, know that the term intellectual property encompasses specific designs, logos, images, software, art and music you created… All of these aspects will influence how you build up your brand and your reputation.
Know that while trademark laws to vary from state to state, and from country to country, there are some basic aspects that are nigh-universal. Namely, you can always trademark an aspect of your brand that you think is most important. So, your logo, slogan, and unique designs. Any individual that wants to steal some of your stuff will think twice when noticing you are trademarked. Furthermore, even if they are brazen enough to do so, you will have a very strong legal foundation to deal with this issue.
Now, in order to actually register a trademark, you need to contact the proper trademark governing the body of your country. Still, know that this may not be as difficult as you would expect. Contact the relevant trademark or patent office, and they will direct you on what your next step should be. Hiring an attorney that specializes in trademarks can also get things to run much more smoothly and efficiently.
Get a proper contract set up
Lawyer up! You should always back yourself up with a solid contract. Having your own requirements and legal terms in writing will help you out immensely. By getting a proper contract set up, you will have the judicial system behind your back. Furthermore, a properly written contract should cover any loopholes, and can serve as a powerful failsafe in case push comes to shove.
Contact a good law firm, like Stevensen business lawyers for example, and set up a proper Terms and conditions agreement. It should contain a clause that deals with intellectual property. Have it clearly presented on your website. This will deter any would-be thieves, and will also clearly outline the rules behind your IP. So whoever wants to do business with you will know exactly what he or she can do. On a bit more positive note, this will also prevent misunderstandings to occur. Namely, sometimes people mistakenly copy your brand or some of your intellectual property. While this does not happen often, it can still cause some trouble.
Cover your bases
Know that any kind of theft of your IP, even if you find a way to deal with it, is quite problematic. At the very least you will need to deal with the legal issues and procedures that involve dealing with an IP thief. This will, in turn, drain your energy and time, both of which could have been invested in further developing your business. Furthermore, the damage may already have been dealt to your brand. Somebody who’s peddling low-quality services and goods under your name may already have left dissatisfied customers in his or her wake, leaving you to deal with the fallout. So the best possible solution is to nip all of this in the bud. And in case all the legal background is not enough, we have some more advice.
One option is to monitor the internet for any breaches of your IP protection clauses. The best way to do this is to get software that can track any matches with your brand. It will then return to you, and inform of you exactly when, where, in what manner, has your IP been infringed. Hiring specialized companies that do this is also an option, albeit a costly one.
In order to protect your brand, you need to have all the necessary safeguards in place. So, hire a good lawyer and set up a trademark. Cover all your bases and invest in software that will help you scour the internet for any infringements on your IP. You should also draft a contract with specified clauses that are there to keep you safe. Copyright infringement can happen and it will drain your energy and resources no matter how protected you are. However, with all the proper defenses set up, the entire process will be much easier to deal with.