Entrepreneurs always have to think ahead when they are launching their business and want it to succeed. One area that often causes problems for entrepreneurs is protecting their business’ intellectual property. Entrepreneurs don’t always know the right way to get a patent, trademark or copyright or even if they need one.
So, if you are an entrepreneur, you need to know how to avoid missteps when it comes to intellectual property. Here are five common mistakes to be aware of:
- Don’t assume you don’t have any intellectual property to protect. Your business likely has a name and a logo. You might have a company slogan. These all are worth protecting so someone else doesn’t try to use these branding items as their own. If you protect your business name and logo with a trademark, you can avoid confusing customers or having customers interact with a similarly named brand that doesn’t provide the quality products or services you do.
- You delay seeking intellectual property because of the expense or you aren’t sure it is worth it. Filing for a product patent or a patent for a process you develop is expensive up front. However, without these protections, a competitor can copy your design or process and profit it off it. In the end, you may lose more money in sales because you didn’t seek patent protection when you should have.
- You don’t research your company name, logo and potential patent items and don’t realize another business already holds intellectual property protection on a trademark or patent that is very similar to your intellectual property.
- You don’t regularly review your potential intellectual property and protect it early on. You may think you can wait until you are ready to sell the company or have someone else take it over to protect your intellectual property. Often, that can be more complex and costly to deal with than regularly identifying what you need to protect and seeking intellectual property protection on those items sooner rather than later.
- You think you can apply for a patent or trademark on your own, without the help of an intellectual property attorney. Protecting intellectual property with a patent or trademark is complicated. You need help from someone who understands the process and how to get approval from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Sometimes, your business has intellectual property that is more valuable than you realize. Sometimes, you may need to seek a specific type of patent or trademark multiple items. With an attorney’s help, you can avoid making mistakes and get the intellectual protection your business really needs.