The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

IP Mistakes from Small Businesses, Part II

In my previous blog, I wrote about the importance of intellectual property (IP) and the ways in which small businesses can go about protecting their own.  But often many businesses fail to recognize the importance of their intangible assets, instead overlooking them in favor of more immediate concerns. But failing to recognize the value in intellectual property can lead to mistakes that put businesses at risk. Here are some of the most common causes of IP mistakes and how to avoid them.

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IP Mistakes for Small Businesses

If you have a small business, you might think that your assets are limited to what you have on hand. But the reality is that you haven’t considerable intangible assets tied up in your business that you haven’t considered. If your business is just getting started, the overwhelming majority of your company’s value comes from your intellectual property (IP). But despite their importance, most small businesses don’t do enough to protect their IP because they don’t know enough about it. Here are a few basics to help you get started.

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Ohio State Defends Against Trademark Infringement

There is nothing quite like the community that develops around collegiate athletics. It manages to be both universal and provincial, important to so may around you but inconsequential beyond the borders of your schools' influence. And the relatively long history of many universities has allowed for traditions and rituals that come to define both a team and a locale.

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Think About the Future

When you’re looking to start your own business, there is a lot to consider. Beyond the immediacy of names and product ideas and an office to set up shop, you want to make sure that you are preparing for success rather than simply working hard with the aim of seeing where things go. Envisioning a goal or target can help you get through those long days and nights. But while you’re on the road towards achieving that goal, there are a lot of other details along the way that can threaten to take your business off track.

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Supreme Court Considers Fashion Copyrights

In looking at cases involving intellectual property rights, it's important to consider the wider implications that can cascade from one court decision. A precedent set in one patent or trademark case can have a ripple effect that shapes an entire industry. And if a matter rises to the Supreme Court, the decision handed down therein can provide a definitive stamp on a previous decision that fundamentally changes the course of the U.S. economy in some slight degree.

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Avoid Legal Disputes to Keep Your Business on Track

You value the work created by yourself and your employees. You take great care to make sure that you take the necessary steps to protect it with patents, trademarks and copyrights, and you are diligent in making sure that your employees aren’t divulging sensitive information like trade secrets outside the office.  You understand that the intellectual property your business generates is valuable, and you want to make sure that you are protecting that value by not allowing others to use it. But are you as considered when it comes to the rights of others?

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Can TV Spoilers Violate Copyright?

In this time-shifted age of television viewing, spoilers have become the bugaboo of many people's entertainment existence. It wasn't that long ago that missing an episode of television meant that it was simply gone, with no chance for you to catch up. VCRs changed the way people could watch their favorite programs, and in the age of DVRs and streaming and on-demand, there's no reason you can't watch episodes of your favorite shows anytime and anywhere and hop on social media to discuss what happened. But these online forums for TV fans can also be a minefield of spoilers for fans not caught up or, event more perilously, for episodes yet to be released.

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Make Sure You Own Your Work

You put a lot of work into your business. You’ve undoubtedly spent countless nights and weekends trying to create a minimum viable product so that you can get to market. You toiled long and hard to come up with the perfect name for the product and your company. After all, these things will be your brand to the consuming public. But for all the thought that you put into naming, far too many companies fail to give thought to those who are already out in the marketplace.

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Lucasfilm Looks to Shut Down Lightsaber School

Few cultural properties have both the longevity and influence of Star Wars. You can see the love even beyond the walls of Comic-Con – fans have taken elements from the films and brought them to the real world it what can be seen as either dedication or lunacy. Australia recently had to ask its citizens not to list "Jedi" as their religion in their national census. Countless couples have made Star Wars the theme to their wedding. And while that level of fandom is all that any film franchise can hope to aspire to, the companies behind these tent-pole franchises are vigilant when ti comes to stopping those who they think are trying to profit off the popularity.

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Have Agreements in Place to Protect Your Business

While many businesses start as solo ventures, at a certain point you have to rely on others in order to have success and grow. Whether it’s people working for you or with you, the odds are you’re going to need help at some point. And that is probably a good thing; while solo work allows you to pursue a singular vision without having to compromise, coworkers and collaborators bring new ideas and new skills that you previously didn’t possess.  But working with others isn’t always easy, and adding people to your business brings about complications that need to be addressed before they turn into serious issues.

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RIAA Takes on Website Over Stream Ripping

In the digital age, piracy is one of the chief concerns of the entertainment industry. With competition for consumer dollars as fierce as it's ever been, movie and music distributors are loathe to lose any of that money to illegally ripped or recorded versions of the work they're putting out. While those on the other side of the issue would argue that the high prices demanded by these industries fuels the piracy that occurs, it is a case of two wrongs still not making a right, as the record industry looks to stop a website that they allege infringes upon their copyrights by providing audio files of YouTube videos.

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Set a Foundation for Your Business

Starting a business is among the most exciting and anxious times of an entrepreneur’s life. You have so many ideas about what you want to do and how you want to change the industry and maybe the world if you’re feeling particularly ambitious. You’re also nervous thinking about all the things you have to do and all the work that goes into getting a business off the ground. There aren’t many people who are overly fond of what could be termed “administrative work”, and there is quite a lot of it that goes along with having your own business. Many business owners will put off those tasks for a later day, rationalizing that the product is the centerpiece of the entire enterprise and therefore demands all of the attention until it’s ready for market. And while having a narrow, single-minded focus can help you achieve success in the long term, ignoring important details in the beginning of your company can put you at risk for failure.

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Avoid Failure to Launch: Part VI

In Part VI, our final blog in the series based on attending David Durick of Paychex’s workshop at the Small Business Expo 2016, we analyze step nine and ten. The necessary contracts are identified with Traklight’s free Business Risk Assessment,  which you can access here. To identify, track, and protect valuable IP, you can upgrade to our Full ID your IP product for a special price of $99 with this code: BMBPC16.  The Risk Chart and IP Diagnostic link you to Paychex partners who can help both address your issues and protect your IP.

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IP Mistakes from Small Businesses

Too often businesses fail to recognize the importance of their intangible assets, instead overlooking them in favor of more immediate concerns. But failing to recognize the value in intellectual property can lead to mistakes that put businesses at risk. Here are some of the most common causes of IP mistakes and how to avoid them.

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Avoid Failure to Launch: Part V

The fifth part in our series  based on David Durick of Paychex’s workshop at the Small Business Expo 2016, examines step seven and eight of the ten critical steps to building and protecting your business. If you are not sure which administrative tasks apply to you, please join Traklight here and take the free Business Risk Assessment. The Risk Chart on your dashboard will help by linking to Paychex partners who can minimize your risks and increase your chances of successfully launching your business. You can save time and money on some of these tasks by downloading and reviewing your Strategy Report located on your dashboard as indicated below.

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Small Law Firm KPIs: How to Measuer Your Way to Greater Profits

For small law firms, trying to develop and sustain success has become more than just trying to add more clients. There are plenty of firms that are able to bring in clients and yet still find themselves failing in the long run. In order to establish success that is sustainable, more and more small law firms are using key performance indicators (KPIs) or performance metrics to gauge how their firm is operating.

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