Who actually came up with the idea for Facebook? Although there were reportedly three college students who started this idea, only one now owns the company and his net worth is in the billions. The other two only came out with millions and this can be traced back to not registering their business and ideas at the time of inception.
Although you may not own a Facebook-sized business, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go through the legal processes of registering the various parts of your business. Here are the two main items to register.
Register your idea
If your product has words, colors, fonts, graphics, or names that distinguish it from other products you should register it as a trademark. First, do some research to make sure nobody else is using these identifying marks by searching the USPTO database. Then hire a patent and trademark attorney to take you the rest of the way through the process.
Copyrights- Copyrights are protections for writings, music, and other art that gives the creator rights against reproduction. A copyright cannot be granted until the product is in tangible form. After that, the copyright office is the resource to obtain this.
Patent- Inventors use patents to protect their intellectual property from unlawful duplication. Although some companies, mentioned later, can help you begin the process, you will need the help of a patent attorney to finish the process. Patents often take years to receive and one wrong form can delay the process even more.
Register Your Business
Registering your business should be done before registering your product because this process is easier and less expensive. A business registration service can help you figure out what kind of business designation you should have. (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation) Each of these different designations will have slightly different requirements for becoming an official business in the eyes of the state where you live.
By registering your business, you give yourself the opportunity to not be synonymous with your business. Many people would rather keep the assets separate so they can, in essence, pay themselves from business funds. This affords the owner protection from catastrophic personal loss should the business fail.
Last, by registering your business, your name becomes unique to you. If you spent time coming up with a catchy business name, you don’t want others using it as well. Once your name is registered in the state database, it cannot be registered by anybody else in your state or region. (each state has slightly different laws governing this)
A business registration service can not only complete the process of registering your business, they often have in depth knowledge that will help you in the beginning stages of registering your product. They may have partnerships with local patent and trademark attorneys that would allow you to save money on the process. Talk to a business registration service about all of these items before going any further.