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How To Protect Your New Business’s Intellectual Property

A lot of new businesses have begun since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ignited by seeing new opportunities or finally making good on long-held dreams. These new businesses have learned the lessons that everyone does in the early days: the sheer amount of paperwork it takes to get started, how to handle supply and demand, how to handle pressure. What we’ve seen getting neglected, however, is properly protecting your business’s Intellectual Property.

Intellectual Property is what makes your business unique. It is whatever you use to distinguish yourself from every other business offering similar goods or services to you. It can come in the form of Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents. While Patents protect new inventions, Trademarks and Copyrights could be utilized by almost every business in existence.

Trademarks are words, phrases, designs, or combinations of the above that identify your goods or services. For example, at McDonald’s, the name “McDonald’s” is a trademark. So are the names of some of their most popular products: “Big Mac,” “Chicken McNuggets,” “McFlurry.” The McDonald’s logo with it’s famous “golden arches” is also a trademark.

Copyrights are artistic, literary, or intellectually created works that are original and exist in a tangible medium. These can include books, movies, software, music, paintings, photographs, magazines, dance moves, and much more. For McDonald’s, examples of copyrights would be commercials for their food or their distinctive “I’m lovin’ it” jingle.

So what is the purpose of actually protecting your Intellectual Property? For trademarks, it gives you the exclusive right to use your trademark. It comes with legal protections that no one else can use your trademark without your permission. If you are McDonald’s, the imperative to trademark your name is so that none of your competitors can steal it. Trademarks do not have a set expiration date – they just must be regularly renewed as long as you are still using them.

For copyrights, protection means you retain the sole rights to reproduce and make money from your artistic work. For McDonald’s, this means that no one can put the “I’m lovin’ it” jingle in their commercial (without paying them.) Trademarks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Copyrights are registered by the United States Copyright Office.

Most new business owners have heard of Intellectual Property, but don’t believe they need to protect it. You absolutely should: it is what makes you unique! If you are passionate about your business, trademarks ensure that no one else is going to steal your idea and run with it. They are absolutely essential to businesses – even to ones who do not realize it.

To get started protecting your Intellectual Property, contact Cueto Law Group today! We can help you identify what your business should be protecting and register for trademarks and copyrights. From boardroom to courtroom, we’ve got you covered!

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Cueto Law Group, P.L.

Based out of Miami, Cueto Law Group offers an extensive range of legal and business counsel to individuals, entrepreneurs, and corporations.

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