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Keys to Protecting Your Ideas as a Business Owner

Business owners have ideas and other intellectual property (IP), and they need to protect them at all times. Otherwise, business owners risk losing IP to others who can profit from it. To some extent, it becomes virtually impossible for business owners to recover this property if not protected beforehand.

With a clear understanding of IP, you can take appropriate measures to secure your business ideas. From here, you can use these ideas to grow your business.

What Is Intellectual Property (And Why Is It Important)?
Intellectual property refers to any creation of the mind. It includes ideas, designs, products, or anything else you've created for your business and use in commerce.

As a business owner, you must do everything in your power to protect your brand. Failure to do so can force your company to miss out on growth opportunities. Even worse, it could create opportunities for your industry competitors.

Much in the same vein, businesses frequently copy or mimic their rivals. For instance, a company may launch a product that looks or works nearly the same as one a competitor launched months earlier. In this instance, the former business can generate revenues from its product. Meanwhile, the latter company's profits may suffer, since a rival is now offering a similar product.

IP laws offer protection against IP theft or privacy. These laws are defined under the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999. They also align with the Intellectual Property and High Technology Technical Amendments Act, which was passed in 2002 and amended the American Inventors Protection Act. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 applies to IP as well.

If you have a great business idea, you need to secure it properly in alignment with these regulations. That way, you can reap the benefits of IP protection.

Why Should You Protect Your Business Ideas?
Protecting your intellectual property can provide your business with a competitive advantage. It ensures business rivals cannot steal your ideas and use them to compete against you.

Furthermore, intellectual property protection can make your business an attractive investment opportunity. It ensures investors can commit funds to your company, with the knowledge that they are backing your business and its IP.

Let's not forget about the growth opportunities IP protection can provide, either. For example, you can use your IP to grow your company via franchising. This delivers limitless growth potential, as you'll be able to expand and scale your company as much as you would like.

How Can You Protect Your Business Ideas?
There are three options for protecting business ideas:

1. Patents
A patent provides limited-duration protection for inventions. To get a patent, apply to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If approved, your patent prevents selling, making, or using your invention.

2. Copyrights
Whereas a patent protects an invention, copyright secures original works of authorship. As such, you can obtain a patent to protect literary works, art, music, and other media. Or, you can get a patent to secure computer software or architecture.

3. Trademarks
A trademark protects words, symbols, and phrases that distinguish a business idea from others. For instance, you can trademark your brand logo. As your company grows, your logo will increasingly make it easy for consumers to recognize your brand.

Review your intellectual property to determine if any of these options can be used to secure it. If you need additional help, consult with an intellectual property attorney.

Failure to secure intellectual property represents one of the biggest mistakes business owners make. Fortunately, an intellectual property attorney has your best interests at heart. Your attorney can assess your IP and identify the best way to secure it. Moreover, your lawyer can help you submit paperwork to protect your IP now and in the future.

Along with evaluating physical intellectual property, analyze and legally secure your digital assets. One such way you can do this is by considering security measures to protect your digital assets against cyber threats, along with any legal protections you make for your online brand.

Finally, take your time to complete all required processes to secure your IP. Perform the required steps to protect your IP. If you encounter problems along the way, try not to stress. At this time, examine your intellectual property once again and follow the appropriate steps to safeguard it. In doing so, you can verify that your intellectual property is safe.

The Bottom Line
A terrific business idea can come at any time. If you use an idea to launch your business or take your company to the next level, you need to protect it accordingly.

Learn the laws for securing business ideas and other intellectual property. Then, you can take legal measures to safeguard your IP and maintain full ownership of it. As a result, you can utilize your IP to accelerate your company's growth and achieve your immediate and long-term business goals.

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Courtesy of NASE.org
https://www.nase.org/about-us/media-relations/nase-in-the-news/2022/03/07/keys-to-protecting-your-ideas-as-a-business-owner