Theft is one of the major concerns of business owners because losing a business property can result in the loss of profit. For businesses that use digital tools, theft of physical goods isn’t the most significant concern but intellectual property.
This often happens to small and medium-sized companies who are highly dependent on their designs, trademarks, brand, and logos to earn profit.
As a small business, your competitive advantage will come from and is created around your ideas, and if your ideas do not have protection, they can be stolen. When this happens, you can suffer major financial losses. Sadly, the estimated cost of intellectual property in the US alone goes as high as $600 billion per year.
That said, it’s imperative to take preventive measures to protect your business ideas and intellectual properties from theft. So what can you do to shield your brand? Listed below are the preventive measures to implement for brand protection.
Trademark Your Brand
Intellectual property comes in different forms. It may involve musical and artistic works, designs, images, software, literature, and many more. In general, it includes everything that helps develop your reputation in the industry you belong in, which builds the trust of your customers.
Copyright law protects many of the written material on your website or apps, but the elements around your brand will not be covered by this law alone.
Trademark protection and proprietary rights are often developed through constant use in a specific marketplace. But since the internet is broad, this kind of acknowledgment in an undefined and open marketplace is improbable.
The best way to protect your brand or intellectual properties is to register a trademark for your brand, logo, name, slogans, designs, and any phrase or words related to your branding. Accomplishing a registered trademark for your business will allow you to use the symbol “®” next to your assets.
This may seem like a complicated process, but it is crucial for your brand’s protection. If you are working with a reliable luxury branding agency, you may ask for their assistance. Branding agencies usually know the proper legal processes as one of their ways to protect their clients.
When your intellectual property is generic, it can be easily copied, stolen, or replicated, making it more vulnerable to theft. This is pretty common in international and most counterfeited brands, such as Rolex, Apple, and Nike, all of which have simple logos and branding designs.
Make your brand stand out and reduce the likelihood of intellectual property theft by branding your company with greater complexity. And one of the best ways to do this is by linking your brand to a source.
Brand linking is pretty simple. You can link your brand to any designated source- from dates, locations, styles, and names.
For example, if you sell self-stirring mugs, you’re probably thinking of adopting a generic name like “Super Self-Stirring Mugs.” Unfortunately, this is a pretty generic name that can be easily replicated. Adding a source can make a huge difference. You can change it into something like “Bubbly Ben’s Super Self-Stirring Mugs” to make it more appealing and hard to copy.
This method is applicable to everything associated with your company. You can use this strategy in your slogans, logos, and other materials. Doing so will make your brand more unique, reducing its likelihood to be stolen or replicated.
Protect Yourself in Writing
From a legal point of view, it’s vital to protect your company and all its intellectual property in wiring. Accomplish this with an all-inclusive terms and conditions agreement posted anywhere on your mobile app or website.
A terms and conditions agreement is needed to define the rules and guidelines that your users must follow to make business transactions with you. It involves the fundamental policies of your business that will give you legal protection in case of abuse and unruly activities.
Your T&C agreement should clearly state an intellectual property clause. It is where you declare that your intellectual property- including copyrighted materials and trademarks- is legally owned by you or the company, stating that you have proprietary rights to such materials.
Having this disclosure will give you legal advantages in case your intellectual properties are stolen or copied. It can also deter potential criminals from going through their plans of stealing from you. They will know that you have taken preventive measures to protect your brand and that you are aware of criminal acts that may happen to your business.
Your intellectual properties and brand are highly valuable. Thus, they are worth protecting. If you want to give your business a better chance at survival, investing in preventive measures should be a huge part of your business plans. Implement the tips mentioned above to safeguard your business from theft and criminal acts.