As an entrepreneur, you know how important it is to establish an identifiable brand that consumers recognize and trust. It’s why you spent time and money conceptualizing your business name, logo, slogan, and marketing content. What if I told you that you may not actually own any of it?
That’s right! There are potential pitfalls many entrepreneurs like you aren’t aware of when it comes to making sure your brand assets are actually yours and can’t be used by anyone else. To make sure you don’t fall into this category, check out the three keys to owning your brand listed below.
KEY ONE – OWN YOUR ASSETS
Did you outsource your logo design, branding kit, marketing copy, or other content to an independent expert? If you answered yes, it’s entirely possible that the person who created these products for you still owns the underlying intellectual property rights. It’s important to own all rights to your assets — if you don’t, you aren’t able to get them registered with the US copyright or trademark office to show that your business owns the content. Plus, because the content creator technically owns the work, they can require you to stop using those assets at ANY time! What’s even worse is that you can’t prevent other people from using them – only the content creator/rights owner can do that.
To avoid a contractor’s ownership of your brand assets, it’s important to sign an intellectual property acknowledgment that will ensure that YOU own all rights to work produced during the project. It’s always preferable to execute this document before work starts. Now, even if you didn’t do that, there’s good news: you can also transfer the rights after the work is completed.
KEY TWO – PROTECT ASSETS WITH COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION
Now that you own all the underlying intellectual property rights to your works, it’s important to register them with the United States Copyright Office. You can copyright basically anything – photos, logo designs, songs, architecture, written content, marketing videos, and more. Even though you have some basic protections just by owning the underlying rights, registering with the Copyright Office gives you even more protection – it’s a public record of ownership and allows for you to collect more money from anyone who might use or copy your assets without permission. It’s basically like getting business insurance to protect your intangible content!
KEY THREE – REGISTER YOUR TRADEMARKS
I know I said you can copyright basically anything, but one thing you CAN’T protect with a copyright registration is a business name or design connected to a specific classification of goods or services. That’s why it’s important to register your business name, logo, and even your slogan with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. By registering, you’re making sure that other businesses who offer the same or similar goods and services can’t use a name, logo, or slogan confusingly similar to yours. This protects you from anyone who wants to try to profit off of YOUR established brand, and it also gives you a way to make them stop any activity that infringes on your trademark.
And there you have it: three steps to take that will help you ensure your labor of love stays protected! At Eden Law, we offer services tailored to each of the three keys listed above. We’d love to talk more with you about how we can help safeguard you. Contact us TODAY and fill out our new client form by clicking here.