Legal Lingo: Protecting Your Creative Works Part I
Have You Protected Your Creative Property?
If yours is a business that is driven by designs, artwork, writings, photography, music, sculpture, performance, blogging, and many other categories, then you will want to obtain copyright registration for your works; register your trademark; and if you’ve invented a new product, you will want to file for a patent. When I design for my stationery company, I always have retailers that ask me, “Which design is your favorite?” I cannot answer that question because I love all of them. They are all a part of me. They are like my children; I love each differently. Just like my children, each design represents a unique and different part of me that the other cannot possibly duplicate. Each design is important. If this is true, then it should be protected. However, I would like to suggest a comparison that might drive the point home a little further.
How many of you own a home, a vacation home, a business location, several business locations? Do you take care of those? Clean them, inventory them, make sure everything is working properly within them, insure them, protect them from burglars? Yes? Okay, well intellectual property, that stuff that we all create, is no different. It has value. Actually, it has quite a bit of value. In fact, since 1975, there has been a shift from real property to intellectual property. Now, intellectual property makes us 75% of a company’s assets. That is amazing! So, the take away is your creative works are worth protecting.
Copyright, Trademark, Patent, Licensing, and Trade Secrets
Some of you may be saying I have no idea the difference among any of these- copyright, trademark, patent, licensing, and trade secrets. It’s okay. You are among good company. Most people don’t. Honestly, creative people want to create, so why would you know this? Still, if it is your creative property, then the burden is on you to make sure you are “taking care of it.” Here is a chart that spells out each area of intellectual property. In future posts, I will delve into each area, so we all are on the same page about how to protect our creative works.
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