You’ve got everything set up: your brand new logo, maybe a snappy tagline and you think you’re ready to go, right? Not quite. The not-quite-as-exciting parts of marketing are the legal issues. When it comes to the legality of your brand, protection is key. For the best protection, cover all three bases: copyright, patent registration, and trademarks. Cover them quickly and thoroughly, because if your competition moves faster you could lose everything.
Not sure exactly how to go about it? Let’s start with the basics. What are the definitions of copyright, patent registration and trademark, and what do they each encompass?
- Clear Copyright: When people think copyright, they tend to think it’s only for books, movies and songs. But it belongs with your brand, too. The content that’s put out on websites, print materials and blogs must be copyrighted in order to establish yourself as a master of your industry. It also keeps people from stealing work and claiming it as their own. Copyright is easy: simply mark your materials with the word “copyright” and the year it was published. For anything you have that might be more valuable, register it with the S. Copyright Office. It’s only $35 per item.
- Patent Patience: This doesn’t mean registering a patent on your patience, it means have patience and make sure all your patents are completely registered. A patent will cover any physical product you put out as well as any software. This product should be unique to you and kept a complete secret until the patent is at least pending. Get patents started as soon as possible at your nearest patent office. You have no idea how far behind someone else might be with the same invention.
- Tracking Trademarks: Trademarks are for the specific pieces of your brand. This includes logo, brand name and any images you want to claim. First and foremost, make sure no one else has already trademarked what you’re looking to use. The Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) is a great system to utilize for this purpose. They also have the forms for applications, which can cost anywhere between $275 and $375.
If you have any questions about how to set up any of the above, give Red Mallard a call today for a free consultation.