You’ve Created a Business, Now Defend It
by Attorney Shakeatha Davis
If you’re here reading this article, there’s a good chance that you’re an entrepreneur, probably in the relatively early stages of building your own business. Regardless of whether you’ve already established a brand or simply thinking ahead, educating yourself for the future, you have come to one of the most important aspects of the business.
It is vital to protect what you have created with countless hours of hard work due to the uniqueness of the brand that you are attempting to build and develop.
As academics need to protect themselves from intellectual plagiarism, so do business owners need to protect their brands from similar transgressions.
There are not a few ways that others can damage your brand, including stealing your product, copying your technology without your knowledge, plagiarizing your creative ideas—and finally, yes, downright slapping your brand name on subpar products that have nothing to do with you or your business. Any one of these can be deadly detrimental to the empire you’re trying to build.
These people are transgressors trying to steal the fruits from trees you’ve sowed and nurtured, and they can be ruthless. And you need to look out.
Luckily, there are a number of ways you can protect your brand and your business from these transgressors, depending on what exactly your business entails.
But here are some general areas to consider when taking action to protect your brand.
1. Online Contents
With social media and search engines being the primary weapons to get your business its customers, there are doubtless important ideas and products, and images associated with your brand. To make sure none of these contents could be used by another party without your consent, certify your contents with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) office, which will help you take down any copyright infringements.
In the past, patents were mainly used for groundbreaking inventions such as the lightbulb, but in the modern business world, where for some businesses the idea itself is the pillar that upholds the whole enterprise. To prevent others from plagiarizing your ideas, and to ensure you yourself is not unwittingly plagiarizing another existing idea, look into patenting your business idea.
There are many knockoff dealers around the world, with the most infamous being in China. They use cheap materials to make poor-quality products but slap a globally recognizable brand onto them. Make sure your brand name and logo are well-protected by trademarking them.
4. Legal Team
No doubt, your goal is to grow your business—you’re a businessman, not a lawyer. If you’ve already gotten your business up and running, consider creating a legal team—I say team, but if you’re just starting up, this can be a single lawyer. If your business is still working, make sure to put the legal team down as part of your plan.
Depending on your specific business, there may be other ways you need to protect your brand. But in any case, protecting your empire is just as vital as building and expanding it.
At the S. Davis Law Group, we have helped countless business owners assess their brand, identify the types of protection needed, and help them navigate through the process.