Tennessee residents would be hard pressed to find someone even slightly familiar with the internet who does not know about Google. To say that what began as a humble search engine grew into one of the largest names in the tech industry would be an understatement. However, that does not give the company the right to infringe on another business's intellectual property rights for its own gain.
Tennessee lovers of 1980's music may remember the band Guns N' Roses. While it may not enjoy the same fame it did back then, the band's name remains out there. Recently, a brewery in another state apparently attempted to capitalize on the band's fame by using it to name one of its products, which could constitute a violation of intellectual property laws.
If a Nashville business includes new inventions or improvements to existing ones, protecting that work needs to take priority. In this situation, a company's portfolio of intellectual property should more than likely need at least one patent. Before applying for one, it will be necessary to determine whether a particular product qualifies for this legal protection.
Keeping an edge over the competition often seems like a never-ending process for many Tennessee business owners. Intellectual property could help a company stay viable in its market, but protecting it can take some doing. Federal law protects a good deal of IP, but that does not mean that taking extra precautions to keep it safe are not warranted. For instance, trade secrets are not covered by federal law even if a patent, trademark or copyright is, so they require more security.
Competing in today's market requires Tennessee companies to exploit what make them unique. This is often done through branding, which includes using unique words, images and designs. The hope is that consumers and clients will begin to recognize the company by its brand, but that only happens if it remains unique. In order to do this, it would be beneficial to protect this piece of intellectual property, which is called a trademark.
When you started your business here in Nashville, you may have taken steps to ensure that your business assets were protected. However, you may have missed one category of property that could have significant value -- your intellectual property. Most businesses have some form of intellectual property, and if you are not sure what may fit into this category, it could be at risk.