As an Ohio business owner, your ideas, plans, designs, written content, and the products or service you provide are vital to your success. This information is often referred to as intellectual property. Here at Delev & Associates LLC, one of the questions we are often asked is how businesses can protect their intellectual property.
According to Entrepreneur magazine, there are three ways that you can protect your property from unlawful use. The first is the use of a trademark. You see these all the time – the checkmark design for Nike, the lion used by MGM studios, the blue and white emblem for BMW and the “I’m lovin it” slogan that identifies McDonalds. It is a phrase of words, a logo or image that is commonly associated with your brand – it lets the public know who you are and what you do. When people see the mark, they automatically know the company, and the quality of the product or service. However, you need to make sure that your trademark is something unique from everything else out there.
The second form of protection is the patent. This is used to protect a product you invented, a production method you use or even a process. For example, if you have a bakery business and you use a unique process in baking your goods, you could patent your process to prevent other businesses from using it or to make sure that you are paid for the use of that process. A patent can protect your process, product or method for 20 years.
The third form is the copyright. This protection is reserved for ideas or expressions that can be seen or heard. For example, if you write a book on shipbuilding, you can use a copyright to protect it from being used without your permission. Other forms of works that copyrights are used for include music, videos, computer programs and architectural works. For more information on protecting your business, please visit our web page.