First and foremost I am not a lawyer or even close to it. But for many small businesses owners Intellectual property laws may be something you have to deal with so it’s worth sharing a few resources in case this is something you need to know more about.
First lets define intellectual property:
Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. (Source: World Intellectual Property Organization )
During an episode of the Extra Small Biz Podcast we talked with Jay B Sauceda about this topic because as an owner of a very popular t-shirt company he faces this challenge regularly. I appreciated his insights because he understood that for the most part people didn’t realize they were doing anything wrong and would simply inform them of intellectual property and that usually was all that was needed. But the thing I appreciated most was he wasn’t going to dedicate a lot of time an energy into this. Because ultimately he wanted to spend his time with his brand. But some may go the other way and want to ensure they are 100% protecting their brand.
In August of this year Melinda Emerson (SmallBizLady) release an interview Andrea H. Evans, Esq. (EvansIPLaw) specifically on this topic. Both women are an absolute wealth of knowledge and I would highly recommend both ladies to follow. I linked their twitter accounts but will link their websites below under resources.
The interview titled: Intellectual Property and its Importance for Your Small Business. I want to share just one question that was asked in the hopes you follow the link above for the full interview. Because as a small business owner it is well worth your time.
SmallBizLady: Why is intellectual property important to entrepreneurs?
Andrea H. Evans, Esq.: IP is important to entrepreneurs because all entrepreneurs have some type of intellectual property. It’s important for an entrepreneur to be knowledgeable about IP so that they can identify it and take proactive steps to protect theirs. For example, all entrepreneurs have a valuable brand that should be trademarked. Some entrepreneurs have inventions that can be patented and most of them will have websites, blogs and/or newsletters that can be copyrighted.
Evans points out that you as a small business owner have a valuable brand. And that needs to be respected by others, as well as yourself. Later in the interview the ladies cover topics like trademarks and patents as well as copyrights. The interview isn’t long, but again, well worth your time.
Another resource I wanted to share with you was from ETSY. I know so many business owners who have stores on ETSY or something similar, if not your own website with a a shopping cart feature. But ETSY is also a place where a lot of issues for IP come into play. Check out this link for everything ETSY has to say specific to IP. This link covers everything from how to report a store for infringement or how to counter.
Obviously a lot of this is specific to ETSY and doesn’t apply elsewhere but as far as a policy they do follow The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which may be worth looking into if you feel you need some clarifications.
I hope this is helpful and if it is if you wouldn’t mind sharing especially with your ETSY friends just so they can be prepared if they ever face this issue.
I so hope this helped remember your sharing support my business.