The term intellectual property (IP) often comes up, especially in terms of well-known brands and products, but what exactly is it? Intellectual property covers ideas, innovations, and inventions created by a person or a group of people (can also be anything from a company to small business).
Logos, signs, names, design ideas, artistic expressions, products, processes and services are all classified as intellectual property. It is important that you do what you can to protect your intellectual property rights for their inventions or designs. This gives them the right to stop other people from using their ideas and inventions and if necessary, to demand payment or other forms of compensation from people wanting to use them.
Copyright covers the works and creations of people in artistic and literary fields as well. Books, plays, movies, pictures, music and software can be protected by copyright. It also covers a wide range of business applications.
There are legal consequences for copying or distributing copyrighted material without obtaining due permission. Small and large businesses alike can suffer from infringement on these rights making their ideas less unique and less profitable. Here’s why you should be concerned about your copyrighted and intellectual property as a small business.
To Protect Your Competitive Edge
As a small business, a unique idea, invention or innovation can be your only edge over your competitors. It can be your key to gaining a large market share, catapulting your business to success and even a source of extra profit if you license its use to other brands.
Competitors getting wind of and taking your intellectual property can be devastating for a small business; when market share is lost, it can be hard to regain. Once the idea is no longer unique, your business or brand stops standing out from the crowd. What makes this worse is the lack of any formal legal recourse for the theft of your intellectual property unless you have taken steps to protect it.
An idea or creation unique to you and your business may end up becoming the hallmark of your brand. As a small business, having a distinctive brand is powerful. It allows you to stand out even among larger businesses. However, your brand will no longer be unique if another business is using the same thing, so protecting your digital content should be of topmost importance as a business owner.
Loss of Profit
Creations covered by copyright and Intellectual property can help the creator profit from their ideas. Apart from the revenue derived from having a totally unique product or service, your business can also make money from compensation payments if your rights are infringed upon or from licensing agreements.
Little wonder every business person agrees that intellectual property theft is a threat to business. In fact, most businesses that fall, victim to such theft find it difficult to bounce back and even end up closing down.
Intellectual property rights and copyrights are essential for a small business if you are bringing something totally unique to the table. Be sure to take steps to protect yours.