Intellectual Property for Beginners

Switching so many hats at home and work to get it all done puts Catholic biz moms at risk of overlooking important, non-urgent tasks.

Managing your intellectual property (IP) easily tops the list of ignored activities.

Understanding intellectual property basics now could save you a lot of money and heartbreak in the future.

So what is IP? Guy McClung, patent and copyright lawyer, defines intellectual property as "non-real, non-dirt, non-physical intangible personal property resulting from mental processes".

Atty McClung distinguishes the four types of intellectual property:

  • Trademarks – a symbol or logo that identifies your company (trade names, trade dress)
  • Trade Secrets – anything of value to your company that you wouldn't give to somebody for free. These include the people you include to buy supplies, customer list-anything of value like a device or process, a compilation of information
  • Copyrights – apply to works of authorship (paintings, artworks, reports, brochures, books-anything produced that can be copied)
  • Patents – deal with inventions (things, process, methods)

Still not jumping off the couch to jump to action?

Here's why you need to have an intellectual property plan:

  1. Short-term Gain for Long Term Pain – Neglecting your IP needs now could mean that years down the road as your business and brand blossoms, you could be required to change the name or logo of your business should you in violation of the intellectual property of another. This may have a disastrous effect on your following and your bottom line.
  2. Giving It Away for Free – Ignorance and inaction about Copyright Laws could land you with screwed book deals where you could lose the rights to your published signature systems. You could also have your content stolen without credit or compensation simply because you failed to include a copyright symbol at the bottom of every document, website, and social media site.
  3. Giving Away the Farm – Not recognizing what trade secrets you have and how to keep them protected could easily leave you with former employers without signed disclosure statements walking away with client lists, processes, procedures, and contact lists that took you years to accumulate. Even carelessness with computer security protection could compromise your intellectual property in the hands of the wrong person.

Don't get that itchy- "Oh no I'm doing a ton of stuff wrong feeling and I already have so much to do!"

An Intellectual Property Plan does not have to be stressful.