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3 forms of intellectual property for small businesses

As a business grows, they will need to take steps to protect their intellectual property (IP). However, with so many different facets to this legal area it is equally important to ensure that owners understand this opportunity.

To help, here are three of the most common types of IP for business owners to understand:

1) Patents

Securing a patent is an important process for any company that wants to protect their inventions. Patents can be used to secure any new invention, process or substance that is new or useful. With this process in place, you will have exclusive rights to commercialise this invention.

For small businesses whose competitive advantage rests on having unique products and services, having these patented will ensure competitors can’t copy these processes without your permission.

2) Trademarks

Trademarks are essential for a company to secure. Your business name, for example, can only be considered your legal property if it has been registered as a trademark. The same approach goes for any other material that distinguishes your product, such as branding and a logo.

Without this level of protection, other organisations will be able to copy your branding and company name, or even register them as their IP, forcing you to revise your current branding and processes.

3) Copyright

Any creative work that a business produces will be protected by copyright so, unlike a trademark or patent, there is no need to apply for copyright for a work. This means that any books, trade publications or written material such as testimonials will be protected and cannot be copied without your permission.

These three are by no means an exhaustive list and other forms of IP may be required. Either way, it is important to consult with a commercial lawyer in order to move this process forward.

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