Intellectual property rights, more commonly known as copyright, is an integral part of doing business. Owning copyright to your brand, products, and business research enables you to secure your market share and avoid copy cats. There are two ways home-based businesses should be protected by copyright: one is protecting the intellectual property rights of things the business owns, and the other is avoiding copyright conflicts with other businesses. You have to apply to obtain copyright for things like your brand. On the other hand, you have to make sure you are not violating copyright already owned by others. Here are several tips on how to handle copyright issues when you run a business from your home:
Don’t Wait to File Patent Claims
Intellectual property is made up of three parts: trademarks, copyright, and patents. Patents give you exclusive rights to newly invented products, tools, or software. If your home business is based on anything that you have created, then you can file a patent claim. Patents will keep anyone else from using what you have created without your explicit consent.
Patents are also highly valuable. They amount to assets of a company. Having a patent will make your business go up in value dramatically, says management consultant and former attorney John R. Burgess. Therefore, file patent claims if you think you have one. Also, do not wait until the last moment to file a claim. The people who file first usually get preference. If another party files a similar patent claim, you will be running headlong into a conflict.
Trademark Logos and Personal Brand
If you use your name, a specific logo, or even a catchphrase when conducting your business, you can trademark it. Trademarks are highly valuable and it’s better to have it done than not. Don’t let a rival business get the advantage over one of your slogans or logos. Be the first to get things trademarks. You can later allow others to use the trademark for a fee, if needed.
Monitor Social Media for Trademark Infringment
According to Edkent Media, a social media marketing agency, trademark infringement is a serious problem on social media. You need to monitor various social media profiles for your intellectual property. Trademark Now has some great tips to claim your trademarks on six different social media sites and the steps to take to protect them.
Research the Material Used for Marketing
Are you about to use a photograph on a blog post you are about to write for your business? Are you uploading an image to your website? Make sure none of this material is copyrighted by anyone. If they are, you will end up paying fines for copyrighted material. It’s strongly advised to conduct some basic research on various content that you use in marketing, advertising, and promotional content. Make sure you either purchase copyright to these content, or get permission from the original owners.
Copyright Your Own Images
On the other hand, you don’t want anyone else to use the images you take for promotional efforts either. The images of your products or business can be used in rival marketing campaigns if you have not copyrighted them. Therefore, go through the necessary steps to get this done.
Last but not least, do hire a lawyer. Your regular business lawyer might not suffice to handle copyright issues. Hire a lawyer who specialized in intellectual property to file your patents and get trademark rights.