If you are a small business owner, you are probably familiar with the importance of intellectual property when it comes to maintaining a competitive advantage in your industry. Here are a few things you should know about IP so that you can hang onto that advantage.
- Your patents have to be filed country by country – There is no universal global patent, so any nation you intend to operate in, you should plan on filing for a patent. Otherwise, you may have a one-of-a-kind product in one market but be competing with something similar in another country.
- You need to have contracts with your employees and contractors – This is to ensure your business owns the work that is created for it. Work for hire generally does pass copyrights automatically to the business, but a contract ensures there are no messy misunderstandings.
- You can’t borrow things you find on the Internet without asking – Even if an image or article doesn’t have a copyright symbol, it is still published, simply by nature of appearing on the Internet. This includes social media posts. Yes, reposting this kind of IP is common, but if you are trying to use it for your business, you don’t want to take a chance of receiving a takedown notice or a lawsuit.