If you’re a small business owner, you’ve likely put much hard work and dedication into getting your brand. In many cases, this means you’ve spent an enormous amount of time coming up with an idea for a product or service, developing it into something marketable, and then bringing it to market.
Once you’ve done all of that, there’s no question why you’d want to protect your brand. Protecting your brand legally can prove effective for your business growth. From using expert companies such as Trademark Engine and others to apply for a trademark to licensing your product, this article discusses eight ways you can legally protect your brand.
File A Trademark
Trademarks protect consumers from being misled and help you build trust. Trademarks are words, phrases, symbols, or designs that identify the source of goods or services. A country’s Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is responsible for registering trademarks with the federal government.
Trademarks can be registered at the state level as well; however, this only protects your business within a limited geographic area. If you’re planning on expanding your brand nationally or internationally, it’s best practice to register your trademark at both the state and federal levels.
In addition to protecting your brand from copycats, registering a trademark also provides additional legal protection in case someone uses your mark without permission by filing an infringement lawsuit against them in court.
Lock Up Your Logo
Trademarking your logo is the best way to protect it. You can trademark a logo if it’s distinctive, not generic, and not confusingly similar to another logo. If you’re planning on putting your brand on clothing or other items that are sold in stores, it may be helpful to trademark the look of those products as well.
While trademark registration isn’t required to have rights over a logo design (you can still sue someone for infringing on your copyright), registering is still highly recommended because it gives you extra legal protections against infringement lawsuits.
Register A Fictitious Name
You can also register a fictitious name as part of your intellectual property. This isn’t required, but it can help you protect your brand in the long run. A fictitious name is a business name that’s different from your actual name and used on things like business cards and websites, as well as social media profiles.
Fictitious names are helpful because they allow you to use a more professional-sounding company title in some cases, and they establish a separate identity from yourself, so people don’t confuse the two (especially important if companies share similar names).
Secure Domain Names And Social Media Handles
Domain names are the addresses of websites. The domain name’s owner is whoever registers it, which can be done in various ways. Domain name registration is a legal process, not unlike buying property or registering your car.
You can register for a year at a time, which will renew automatically if you don’t log into your account and cancel it before the expiration date. If you want to stay on top of all things brand-related, consider setting up an automatic renewal service for your domain’s registration so you never miss an opportunity to protect your brand.
Get A Patent
As you know, a patent is a legal document that protects an invention or idea. The government issues patents as part of its mission to encourage innovation and investment in new ideas by ensuring that people who invent things can profit from their work.
Patents protect inventions and ideas from being used without the inventor’s permission. If someone uses your patent without your permission, they could be liable for damages and other penalties.
In protecting your rights, patents can also help you sell your products. A patent means that no one else can legally offer the same product or service until 20 years after the date on which it was granted (in some cases). This helps you stand out from competitors and win customers who want something unique.
Protect Your Brand Content With Copyright
Copyright is a legal right that protects original works of authorship such as books, music, and videos. A copyright gives you the exclusive right to reproduce your work in any form or medium in the future. This means that if someone else wants to use your work without permission, they need to get it from you first.
In addition to protecting against unauthorized use of your brand’s content and preventing others from stealing your work, copyright law also allows for monetary damages when someone uses your copyrighted material without permission.
In some cases, this could mean financial compensation for lost profits or revenue due to decreased sales or value associated with the infringing act of copying another’s intellectual property.
Take Care Of Your Brand
You have to protect your employees. You don’t want them to come up with ideas and then start a competing business or steal customers. When they leave, they could take vital information with them as well. That’s why you need employment contracts that include non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and confidentiality agreements.
The first two are simple enough: a non-compete agreement keeps former employees from competing against you for some time after leaving the company; in other words, all the things that’d allow someone to take business from you after leaving your employ should be contained in the contract.
The latter prevents people from sharing confidential information about your company (such as trade secrets) or soliciting clients and employees away from your organization during their employment with you and for a period after leaving it for another firm, which is also bad for business.
Rely On Contracts And Non-Disclosure Agreements
Contracts and non-disclosure agreements are legal documents that can be used to protect your brand. They can be used as a more significant contract or as a stand-alone document.
A contract is an agreement between two or more parties legally binding them to each other. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a contract between two parties in which one party agrees not to disclose confidential information about the other party or its business.
Contracts and NDAs help protect businesses from intellectual property theft and fraud by requiring employees, contractors, partners, vendors, and others privy to proprietary information to sign agreements stating they won’t use this information for their benefit.
There are many ways to protect your brand. It’s essential to know the different types of legal protection available to choose the right approach for your business. Protecting your brand is an excellent way to ensure its security.