Tips to Safeguard your Start-up from Intellectual Property Theft

For a startup’s growth and sustainability, brand protection is imperative. It may require you to put more effort than just launching the business. And still, there are chances that you will leave some gaps that enable other entities to infiltrate your brand and hence, you need to protect your brand from unauthorized use. Most people release their company name and logo without providing any security to it. So, if you are planning to launch your start-up, the first thing you need to do is to get your company’s trademark registered to protect your brand’s identity. As a trademark is given based on geography, one can only apply at the place from where he/she has been performing the business.

Here are a few important things you need to take care of to ensure your start-up’s brand protection.

A Non-Disclosure Agreement is a Must-have

 Prepare a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to legally prevent third-party entities from using your intellectual properties in any form. An NDA binds two or more people in an agreement that specifies who share important business information with whom and what information cannot be disclosed in front of anyone outside of the organization. It is imperative for an entrepreneur to get an NDA signed by all the key stakeholders of their business including decision-makers, investors, vendors, advisers etc.

Keep Your Intellectual Properties Protected

As an entrepreneur, you should understand the branding importance and protect your brand’s intellectual properties by trademarking them. There are many things you can choose to trademark such as your company’s logo, designs and patterns on product packages or even the branding colors.

Here are a few ways to protect your business’ intellectual properties:

  • Logo trademark

Once you finalize your company logo, trademark it with the help of a professional services provider. The trademark registration ensures that no other organization can use your registered mark.

  • Tagline trademark

Your brand needs to have a unique tagline. Register your tagline as the intellectual property of your brand to restrict third-party entities from using it in any form. You’ll have to follow a few norms while registering the tagline, like making it creative and unique.

  • Color Mark Protection

Color mark protection includes trademarking of product color, packaging and services to help determine the source and not used only for decoration purposes. Color mark protection is one of the important elements of Startup Brand Protection.

Avoid ‘Likelihood of Confusion’

“Likelihood of confusion’ refers to the similarity in appearance, meaning, sound, or pronunciation of a company’s IP to another causing confusion for customers. In order to avoid such confusion and get your IP certified, you need to ensure that the IP of your brand is not similar to others in your industry.

Consider Linking Your Brand to a Source

Generic IP can be much more easily copied, replicated and stolen. For instance, the most counterfeited brands are Apple, Fastrack and Nike, having relatively simple logos and branding designs. However, you can make your brand stand out and reduce the scope for intellectual property theft by designing branding material that has greater complexity. One effective way to achieve this is by linking your IPs to an attributional source like names, dates and even locations.

Wrap Up

Your start-up’s brand and the IP associated with it are highly valuable and worth protecting. While it is very difficult to completely eradicate theft online, the above fundamental steps can help you safeguard your investment and provide you peace of mind.

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