Calling all inventors, it’s Sam here! I hope all my readers had a fabulous fourth of July! But I also want to send a special shout out to all my readers with ideas for the next great product or invention. If you’re one of those creative folk who have already thought up an innovative product or maybe you’ve gone a step further and created a model, it might be time to start thinking about protecting your product.
Protecting your product is obviously a little less glamorous than actually inventing it, but it’s equally as important to the success of your business. Don’t risk pouring your blood, sweat, and tears into an invention just to have a competitor or retailer steal your thunder and make a knock-off product. If you’re just a rookie in the ring of inventing here’s a quick list of ways to make sure you can make a stellar product without being knocked out.
First Strike: Patents
Patents are for tangible items, improvements to existing items, or plans for an item. For example I would patten the plan for a laptop that never runs out of battery or a treadmill for dogs. Patents are specifically reserved for items that have a designated function or purpose.
Second Strike: Copyright
Copyright are mainly used for anything written or visual. So I would copyright my blog posts, newsletters, and articles that I write for my company. Similarly, images like photographs or paintings would also be copyrighted. But don’t confuse copyrighting images with trademarking of logos!
Third Strike: Trademarks
Trademarks are used for images and phrases that directly represent the brand and image of a company. So company names and small images that are used to promote your company. Classic examples of trademarks are the McDonalds’ golden arches or the Goldfish slogan “The snack that smiles back.”
Three Strikes You’re… Safe?
The safest way to ensure all your property both intellectual and tangible is protected, is to file all of the necessary paperwork. That way if any situation were to arise that involved a product very similar to yours, you would be protected.
The president and founder here at Retailbound shared an anecdote with me that really illustrated how important protecting your product can be. Our president had been out visiting various retail locations, checking out some of the in store marketing for one of our clients. When he stopped in at one particular retailer he was shocked to find a product eerily similar to the one his client was currently producing. It turned out that because the client did not complete the necessary pre-emptive measures, competitors had swooped in and manufactured a similar product for a better price. As a result of this, the company in the wrong could be facing a trademark petition to cancel notification, due to their logos and businesses being similar.
Don’t let this happen to you! Spend some cash and register your patent, copyright your manual, and trademark your logo. You have to invest in yourself and your product in order to see a bigger payoff later. I don’t want all of my readers to end up penniless after being stripped of their big ideas. So do the dirty work, play the game, protect your merchandise, and keep stay tuned into the Retailbound blog! Until next time folks, it’s Sam signing off.