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Why New Entrepreneurs Need to Take Their Intellectual Property Seriously

Businesses need copyrights and trademarks to own and protect their assets.

  • Copyrights are about protecting creativity.

  • Trademarks are about protecting your space in the marketplace.

Protecting your intellectual property can:

  • increase the appraised value of your business

  • make your company more attractive for investment and partnerships

  • protect you from copy-cats


Copyrights protect original, tangible, and creative works.

A copyright gives the owner of a creative work the right to keep others from unauthorized use. The creative work must meet the three criteria below:

  1. Original - the author must have created rather than copied it

  2. Tangible - recorded or written down

  3. Creative - human intellect must produce it

Copyright does not protect ideas or facts. It only covers the unique expression of ideas or facts. For example, copyright might preserve an author's book about a love between a human and an alien. But, the author cannot stop others from using the idea of an intergalactic love affair.


Trademarks protect your space in the marketplace. They cover words, phrases, and logos that distinguish a company from its competitors. These include brand names, distinctive words, sounds, smells, colors, and other devices.

Trademarkable brand assets include:

  • Your name (i.e., the name you use for your business in the public marketplace)

  • Your logo.

  • Other distinctive parts of your business and marketing.


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