You worked on your business idea for several years and it’s now coming to fruition. Your startup company has launched and you’re very excited.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to all of this. Often, people are unwilling to engage in the hard work that involves coming up with their own ideas, and they may simply try to steal yours.
How can you protect your new business from copycats?
Identify what is unique
The first step toward protecting your brand is identifying its unique components. It’s tricky to protect broad ideas and you can’t stop competitors from entering the same market. Nonetheless, you can protect some of the factors that are unique to your business.
For example, do you have a company logo that really stands out? Have you invented something completely original? Do you utilize techniques, methods or recipes that nobody else does?
If you have a unique invention, then you may be able to patent the technology. This means that only you are allowed to use it or sell it. To do this, you’ll need to apply via the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
If you have a unique logo, then you may be able to protect it with copyrights. By contacting the Library of Congress and paying the appropriate fees, your logo may be copyrighted, which means nobody else can legally use it.
You’ll also be able to legally protect your trade secrets (unique methods of production etc) and any other form of intellectual property.
The law on intellectual property can be complex and difficult to navigate as an entrepreneur. One of the most valuable steps you can take is to seek as much legal information as possible.