Intellectual Property affects businesses in many ways. It may even dictate how you draft your contracts. Especially if you work in software development or any other kind of service business that creates work for another person or company.
It is difficult to find a business today that does not have some element of intellectual property in their business. Trademarks are more important than ever for the online entrepreneur. Content creation is taking over marketing. That means, online businesses are constantly creating intellectual property.
Today, Intellectual property is where much of the value of a business lies. But no one seems to understand it.
Intellectual Property Defined
Intellectual Property is the expression of an idea. You cannot protect an idea you have in your mind or something you have not fully fleshed out in some kind of expression. This is true for your tag line, your best-selling book, and any artwork you have every considered creating (including your trademark). If you do not DO SOMETHING with your idea, you do not have any protection. There are three primary types of intellectual property:
The expression of an idea fixed in a tangible medium.
A name or image that tells consumers of the origin of products or services.
Let’s just say we won’t go into to much depth on patents. Patents are a very specialized area of the law. Patents are one of the places it may not be wise to try yourself. Most lawyers, myself included, are not licensed or qualified to speak with much authority on patents.
Understanding Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property Works with many parts of your business. There are rights you have when you create something, rights you get from protecting your intellectual property, and rights that are available when you register your intellectual property with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the United States Copyright Office, or your state’s trademark office. When creating any kind of Intellectual Property, you need to understand:
Protecting Your Intellectual Property
If you go through all of the trouble to create a work and use it in your business, you need to make sure to protect your intellectual property. If you don’t protect it, you could lose some of the protections given to you under the law. When it comes to intellectual property, you need to know:
Intellectual Property is such an important part of business. As such, it is important to understand how it can impact your business. Some key parts of intellectual property jargon will help you out. Make sure you understand these terms and concepts when you are dealing with Intellectual Property. It will not only help you sound like you understand what you are talking about, but it could save your business some serious headaches (and cash!).
When you can use someone’s intellectual property without permission.
Like renting. You give someone the right to use your intellectual property, but they do not own it. You can either license it to someone exclusively or you can license it to as many people as you want. You can also control the rights that you license to a particular person or entity.
This is like selling your intellectual property. Keep in mind, however, that intellectual property is a bundle of rights. That means, you can transfer a particular right to your intellectual property while keeping other rights for yourself (or transferring them to someone else).
Business Uses of Intellectual Property
Intellectual property can be a source of revenue for your business. That could come in the form of:
- Licensing Agreements
- Subscription Agreements
- Book Deals
- Movie Deals
Even though you have certain rights in the creation of your intellectual property, there comes a time when you should consider registering your intellectual property. This is the strongest level of protection you can have for your intellectual property, but it isn’t always right.
Intellectual property is important because it touches on so much of the business community. Everything from branding to product development. It is important to understand what you are creating and what rights you have to protect. It is also important to understand what happens if you don’t take the appropriate steps to protect your business.