How to Effectively Protect Your Intellectual Property INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND YOUR BUSINESS
BUILD A MILLIONAIRE’S LIBRARY Book Recommendations From the Ultra Successful
Intellectual property is defined by Merriam-Webster as “property (such as an idea, invention, or process) that derives from the work of the mind or intellect.” As you can no doubt glean from this definition, intellectual property can be a lot of things, so it’s important to identify and protect you and your business’s intellectual property. Here are the main categories and protections for your company’s creations. TRADE SECRETS A trade secret is any useful piece of information that the public doesn’t know about and the owner has taken steps to protect. If you have taken the steps necessary to protect your own trade practices, you may have a case if you ever discover your trade secret has been leaked. Having your employees sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) is a great way to initially establish your unique business practices as trade secrets. TRADEMARKS The name of your business, product, or service — anything a customer uses to identify a product — generally requires a trademark. This may include your company’s name, product name, etc. Think of the distinctive Nike “Swoosh” and the familiar ending sound of Dell’s commercials. To properly protect your trademark, file a trademark application to have it registered. COPYRIGHTS Most people seek protection under copyright law for a variety of things related to their product or business, like images, specific words on packaging, labeling, the actual product, and the business webpage. The best thing about copyright registration is that it’s inexpensive. Plus, the law allows you to demand attorney fees from those who infringe on your copyright. PATENTS Patents are a fantastic way to protect your designs, and companies have utilized patents to maintain their competitive advantage. A great example of this strategy is when Sony Pictures patented their animation style for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse” which grossed over $375,502,565. There are two types of patents: one for utility (function) and one for design (aesthetic). To apply for a patent, register with the United States Patent Office. Regardless of the type of intellectual property you have, it’s important you identify what type it is and which type of protection is most appropriate. Even a small amount of intellectual property is worth protecting, so start the process now to safeguard it.
What does every successful person have in common? They read. Avid reading is a key characteristic of the ultra successful because, through great ideas, you can learn how to achieve your full potential. If you want to be more successful in business and in life, you should definitely add these great books to your reading list. ‘Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street’ by John Brooks Who read it? Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Famously loaned to Bill Gates by Warren Buffett himself, “Business Adventures” was written and originally published shortly after the stock market crash of 1962. In this book, John Brooks recorded the successes and failures of 12 major companies of the era, including Ford, Xerox, and General Electric. From 1903–1908, renowned German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote letters to a young, aspiring poet. These candid thoughts from one of the greatest artistic minds offer insights on life, love, and how to fully experience the world we live in. Each letter is a valuable reminder that we should never underestimate our own artistic spirit. ‘It's Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles From a Life at Starbucks’ by Howard Behar Who read it? Katrina Lake, founder and CEO of Stitch Fix Starbucks is known for its quick coffee and seasonally controversial cups, but that’s not what turned the company into a world-conquering success. In “It’s Not About the Coffee,” Howard Behar highlights the importance of company culture and the role business leaders play in helping their team members reach their full potential. ‘Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration’ by Ed Catmull With Amy Wallace Who read it? Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, is responsible for some of the most successful animated movies in the history of cinema. “Creativity, Inc.” explores the creative process behind such films and how this process can be replicated in any industry. Forbes has suggested that Catmull’s book “just might be the best business book ever written.” ‘Letters to a Young Poet’ by Rainer Maria Rilke Who read it? Jen Rubio, co-founder and president of Away
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