3 Quick Ways to Protect your Intellectual Property
As a Lawyer and Marketer for the past 25+ years, one of the biggest changes I’ve noticed over the years is the role intellectual property plays in business.
In other words, when I first started out, all you had to do was register your name with
the government, secure a business license and off you go getting clients!
But today, with the advent of the internet and all of the moving parts associated with it (e.g., website domains, social media content, blog content, titles of books/audios and other content), you better have a rock solid intellectual property (IP) protection strategy in place.
Especially if you’re a Coach, Consultant, Speaker, Author or Thought Leader who regularly creates or publishes content for their clients.
Because your ideas are your business!
And unless you protect those thoughts and ideas, it’s very easy for one of your competitors to take your stuff and purport it as their own. Or worse yet, take it, copyright it themselves, them sue you!
So with that said, let’s take a look at some things to keep in mind to help you stay out of legal hot water as it relates to your Intellectual Property.
Choose the right business name. Most of my clients already know this, but just in case you’re thinking about renaming your business or perhaps launching a partnership that requires a new name, make sure to do some research before settling on a name and spending money marketing it.
A quick Google search is always a good start, followed by a deeper search on the U.S. Patent and Trademark office website. Assuming everything checks out, you’re good to go.
Copyright your content. Now this one is for all of my bloggers, authors, speakers, coaches and thought leaders out there: You have to copyright your content!
What you don’t want to have happen (which actually did to a client of mine), is you put out an online course or some other content driven paid program. And then after a few months, while you’re earning good money with that program, turns out that someone else is doing the exact same program…with your material!
Now if you have a copyright on it, and can show that yours came out first, then you won’t have a problem claiming ownership. (Most of the times, a quick “cease and desist” letter will do the trick.) But if you don’t…well, that’s a horse of a different color, and something that takes up a lot more time, money and energy.
So if you’re producing content on a blog, website, podcast or videos on even a quasi regular basis, do yourself a favor: Copyright your content.
If you’d like some specific language for doing that, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you something you can use right away.
Trademark your titles. Now this is especially true for coaches, consultants or speakers who have specific titles for their paid speaking or coaching programs. Make sure to trademark them!
As with the copyright issue, the last thing you want is to spend all of this time and money into marketing and branding a certain title, only to find out that someone else is using it 6 months later. Or worse yet, that you’re infringing on someone else’s trademark!
Again, a quick check at the U.S. Patent & Trademark office website should do the trick just to see what’s out there.
So there you have it…three quick ways to protect your intellectual property. And I know that as a creative person this might seem like a pain or overwhelming or whatever, but if you take a few minutes to get this ball rolling today, you will absolutely put yourself in a position to protect your hard earned thoughts and ideas (and revenue) later on!