Thinking of starting a business, but not sure what you need to know? Begin your journey here with my basic guide to business start-ups. In my role as Editor for The Business Show and Business Startup, I have talked with literally thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs about what they really need to know, not what a business guru thinks they need to know. This series is the result. Today’s blog looks at the different ways you can make sure nobody steals your great idea.
How To Register Your Idea
Many start-up are based upon an innovative idea or product and you need to ensure that nobody else can steal it from under your new business before it has a chance to establish itself. This is usually referred to as your intellectual property. To protect it, this needs to be something unique that you have created. It could be a new product you’ve invented, a design, brand or logo, a written work, photography, a song or a piece of software, amongst other things. The protection stops anyone using what you’ve created without your permission and enables you to charge others for the right to use it.
There are different types of protection, depending on what you’ve created. These are the most common:
Artistic works are protected by copyright. Just by creating something, you own the copyright, but it can help to use the © symbol, your name and date of creation anytime it’s seen. A good tip is to mail yourself hard copy of your creation (preferably signed for) and leave the envelope unopened when it arrives. This can be very persuasive if you need to assert your copyright in law at a later date.
Inventions are protected by patents. It can take up to four years for a patent to be granted and mistakes are commonplace, which is why a lot of people use patent attorneys. The cost is around £250 without an attorney, more with their fees.
A trademark is usually the logo that makes your brand recognisable; registering it with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) means you can prevent anyone using it without your permission and lasts 10 years in the country of registration.
NEXT: The Importance Of Market Research
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