Business Advice -

You thought of it! You designed! You manufactured it! You wrote! You name it, You did it! And now someone is trying to CLAIM it as theirs!

But is it really yours if you haven't established Ownership of it?

Well here are a few ways to help you establish your ownership over your products, services, and words.

The exclusive legal right given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.

A symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product.

A government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.

An owner can grant a license to someone or something to permit the use of something or to allow an activity to take place.

The option of Ownership that you choose depends on the type of ownership you require.

If you are the creator of an original work of authorship of anything from novels to movies to songs to computer software, and many other works, a copyright will protect your ownership. Copyrights are not forever, and their duration depends on several factors. Copyrights for works created by an individual last for the life of the author plus 70 years. If the author is anonymous, a pseudonym, or for hire, the protection lasts for 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation whichever is shorter.

If you are an inventor or a machine or manufactured materials or chemical compositions, to name a few, a patent protects your ownership for a limited amount of time. The duration of patent protection depends on the type of patent granted.

You can establish a "common law" trademark simply by using your "mark" in commerce, and a trademark does not expire after a set term of years unlike copyrights and patents. However, registering a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) affords you several advantages such as a notice to the public of the claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with goods or services set forth in the registration.

While licensing does not transfer Ownership it does have some major advantages. You may have something unique that your competitors don't, you may get a little better margin because it is unique, and you may be able to sell to retailers that you weren't able to before because you now have something that is unique.

Licensing affords you the ability to tap into the existing production, distribution, and marketing systems that other companies may have spend decades building, and you receive a percentage of the revenue from products or services sold under your license.

While licensing fees typically amount to a small percentage of the sales price, but can add up quickly. For instance 90 percent of $160 million a year in sales at Calvin Klein Inc. comes from licensing the designer's name to makers of underwear, jeans, and perfume, as the only merchandise manufactured by the New York-based company are its women's apparel lines.

Now that I have given you some things to think about . . .

Establish Your Ownership

US Patent and Trademark Office
Wikipedia - Intellectual Property

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