Protecting Your Intellectual Property

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn, and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely, but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”
― Mark Twain

So if that is true, then how do you protect your ideas from being hijacked and used by other people? You need to come up with ways to protect your intellectual property and avoid needing to call in the solicitors and big guns. Intellectual property protection isn’t as complicated as you might think, but you need to keep on top of it at all times. 

What Is Intellectual Property Protection? 

The basics are that you use IP law to protect your hard-earned ideas and creations from unfair competition. IP covers unique items that you have created, and that would give you an economic benefit. You need to know which parts are going to need protection because filing repeatedly can get expensive really quickly. 

  • Decide which of your ideas or creations fall into specific protection options
  • File quickly to reduce the chances of someone else doing it 
  • Seek information on international patents too.

Four Types

There are four areas that are going to protect your business. 

Patents - Utility, design, and plant. These patents will block other companies and individuals from making, selling, or using your ideas and products in any way. You will need to fill in a patent application to get the coverage. 


This will protect the phrase, symbol, design, or word that sets your product and ideas apart from others. The best company to think about when you are considering what makes you different is the Nike ‘Swoosh’. Use a trademark search to see if what you are thinking about applying for is already done elsewhere. To apply, you must have a clear representation of the mark and identify the class of goods or services that the mark will apply to. There are fees involved, but you will get a 10-year mark from it - so it is worth it. 

You can register a ‘use’ application after using the mark, or you can opt for ‘intent to use’ application before you use the mark. 

Trade Secrets

The trade secret is what makes your product different. It might be a process in which it is made, the formula, a device, or other information that gives you an edge over your competitors. Here are some examples:

  • Makeup formula
  • Computer or software algorithms
  • Survey results

You can’t obtain protection by registering a trade secret, but you can have protection for as long as necessary to control the disclosure of the information. Restricted access, NDAs, and restrictive contracts are what you will implement here. 

And finally, of course, you can copyright many different works. You will need to see if what you produce falls into a category that qualifies, but it is an excellent protection technique once in place. 

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