It used to be that the most valuable items your business could hold were the inventory you could protect with a lock and key. These days, however, with technology and internet capabilities, it is increasingly easier for others to ride on your coattails by stealing your intellectual property or profiting from your established brand.
Nevertheless, you can still take steps to protect what is rightfully yours and the benefits you may reap from your ideas and products. By investigating the various forms of legal registration, you may find the most appropriate method of safeguarding your hard work and creativity.
What do you have to protect?
Are you a novelist? A songwriter? A photographer or illustrator? Do you create computer games or choreograph dances? Perhaps you haven’t completely formulated your idea for a business, but you have a great logo and brand name. All of these things are your intellectual property. They are valuable and worth protecting. The type of registration you choose will depend on the IP you have to protect. The various forms of legal registration include:
- Copyright: For published or unpublished works of authorship, such as writing, art, motion pictures or digital creations
- Patent: For an invention, such as a product or process, and all the rights that accompany its use
- Trademark: For the mark that sets your business apart, such as a logo, brand name or symbol
Registering these forms of IP proves you had ownership of them first in case a dispute should arise. Even if someone attempts to create a product or brand that is similar to yours, a copyright, patent or trademark could be the deciding factor during any legal action that might be necessary.
Once you have established your Nevada business and begin to hire employees or work with contractors who will have access to your intellectual property, you may consider including a non-disclosure agreement in your business contracts. These agreements will allow you to take legal action if any of these trusted people take advantage of you and attempt to profit from your IP.
Of course, including non-disclosure agreements in your contracts is not always easy, and many courts are reluctant to enforce them if they are vague or have too wide a scope. If you decide to draft a non-disclosure agreement or pursue any form of legal registration of your intellectual property, you may benefit from the assistance of an attorney with experience in these areas.