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Hackernoon logoShould You Get Copyright, Patent, or Trademark to Protect Your Million-Dollar Business Idea? by@chris-legazpi

Should You Get Copyright, Patent, or Trademark to Protect Your Million-Dollar Business Idea?

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@chris-legazpiChris Legazpi

People have the tendency to be lax when it comes to protecting their intellectual property. When you’re in the process of developing and brainstorming for different business ideas, it may be hard to see the value of what you’re making if it isn’t tangible yet.

Regardless if you’re an artist, an inventor, or an entrepreneur, you must never be complacent when it comes to protecting your intellectual property.

You’ll never know if the passion project you’re working on will be the next big thing in your industry.

If you’re careless with securing your intellectual assets, unwanted occurrences and potential legal complications may arise and affect your brand once it’s finally operational. With these things in mind, it’s important to know the different ways on how you can protect all of your creations.


Used for securing artistic assets such as songs, movies, and books, a copyright gives you control over who can use and reproduce copies of your work.

For instance, if you’re a music producer, a copyright will prevent other people from using your tracks without your prior consent. If you’re a writer that knows how to stand out and succeed at content marketing, you can protect your research, media assets, and insights from bloggers that are claiming it as their as own.

A copyrighted product will be secured for the whole life of its creator with an additional 50 years upon his/her death. If the time comes that you encounter any legal issues, you’ll need to license and register your works with the government agencies involved.

Failure to do so will make you unable to file a lawsuit against the party that infringed on your intellectual property.


Patents were made to give inventors exclusive rights over new creations or to the improvements they’ve made to previous models. If you’re applying for one, it’s important to know the three different kinds of patent categories.

Utility patents cover the functional features of your invention. They come with detailed descriptions of how your products operate and drawings as a form of visual aid. This will give rights and recognition for all the people that made significant contributions.

Design patents, on the other hand, cover the non-functional elements of your invention. To emphasize the branding of your products, you may be incorporating certain designs that make them stand out from your competitors. These aesthetic elements can also be claimed as yours as long as it’s unique and easily distinguishable.

Remember: Intellectual property issues tend to arise when companies are in the process of merger and acquisition (M&A).

If you’re dealing with a company transition of any kind, a patent will allow you to gain full ownership of your inventions and stop others from producing, distributing, and selling any model you’ve made.

Since some products such as car engines, computer hardware/software, and other kinds of machinery may still be redesigned and improved, utilizing both patents will let you acquire legal rights to both functional and design aspects of your creations.

Plant patents are given to inventors who have reproduced a new kind of plant with distinct characteristics, capabilities, and use. The patent may apply to certain plants, however, scientific processes such as the method of reproduction and cultivation may complicate the process even further.


A trademark is a word, phrase, or symbol that will distinguish your products and services from your competitors’. As aspiring brand owners, you should keep in mind that your logo, name, and slogans are one of your biggest assets so you need to make sure that you have exclusive rights to all of those.

Trademarking your intellectual property will prevent others from creating a brand with a similar name and design. This also works the other way around. Your registration may also be rendered invalid if the assets you are attempting to trademark are similar to a business that’s already operational.

Other than giving your products and services some distinction, your trademark will also define your overall branding and set the tone for your marketing efforts. For example, Nike has reaped the benefits of trademarking by making good use of their logo (the swoosh) and tagline (“Just do it”) to build brand visibility and strengthen industry authority.

Be financially prepared because trademarking will require the services of a lawyer and will come with processing and other related fees.

Securing the future from the inside out starts with protecting your intellectual assets.

If you think your products, services, and ideas have what it takes to build a business, make sure that you’re able to secure all of your assets by making use of the three mentioned tools. In case any complications arise, having a legal consultant that’s readily available will help you gain clarity on your situation and will help you impose your intellectual property rights.


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