As your business grows and your brand becomes more recognizable, it’s important to protect your intellectual property and come up with a strategy for it. One issue new businesses face is that budgeting for intellectual property can be expensive. However, when seen as a corporate asset or a weapon that can help you stop competitors from capitalizing on your hard work, it’s an invaluable method of growing/protecting your business. Having a comprehensive intellectual property strategy will help you achieve higher valuations for your business, and most importantly, help stop competitors from infringing on your hard work.

What does this mean?

You should evaluate all the ways that your business is unique, and all the ways in which you have distinct advantages over your competitors. For example, what sets you apart? Is it your name, logo or slogan? If so, you should file for trademarks for each name, logo and slogan that uniquely identifies your business.

Further, do consumers identify your business through the shape of your products or it’s packaging? If so, you should file for a design patent. A design patent will protect the unique characteristics or ornamental features of your product.

On the other hand, if your business is successful because of the distinct advantage you’ve created by inventing/improving on common commercial standards in your field then you should consider filing a utility patent. A utility patent protects the functionality of your invention and prevents others from capitalizing the distinct competitive advantage your business has created through its innovation.

Or, is it your musical works, literary works, or dramatic works that set your business apart? To protect these assets, you should file for copyrights. A copyright protects single works of art that may not be protectable under trademark or patent registration.

Lastly, you should also consider protecting your intellectual property in each market in which your business operates. Just because you file in the US this will not grant you protection in other markets, as you will be required to apply in each jurisdiction separately. Check your availability to file in our network of 88 filing regions here.

This article presents the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LegalForce RAPC or its clients.  The information presented is general information and for educational purposes.  No legal advice is intended to be conveyed; readers should consult with legal counsel with respect to any legal advice they require related to the subject matter of the article.

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RAJ ABHYANKER, is the founding partner of LegalForce RAPC Worldwide. Raj is a winner of the American Bar Association Legal Rebel award, and the Fastcase 50 Legal Innovation Award. In addition, Raj was an economic policy adviser to the Chief Technology Officer of the United States White House for the America Invents Act, and invited speaker at the Association of California Bar Associations conference, and an invited speaker at the U.S. District Court (9th district) Judge Aiken conference on Innovations in Law, Science, & Technology. He has been quoted in the ABA Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, Fox News, and Fast Company magazine.