Women make up 82 percent of network marketers due to their many awesome abilities. Those amazing capabilities, however, also put women at risk of being ripped off. Let’s say a woman has created a jammin’ anti-aging skin cream with a proprietary blend of herbs. She tests in on herself for two years and then waits another year to see if any side effects happen. She has pictures of her progress and vines of people congratulating her. She contacted Washington, D.C. for a trademark on her product which she calls WhatAge? A trademark is an intangible asset; it isn't physical meaning it can't be touched, but it protects which makes it an asset.
Our inventor has researched marketing techniques and settled on network marketing. Finally, she judges it safe to market her product. First, though, she will need to educate herself regarding what is IP for a solopreneur in addition to intangible assets in order to protect her product and her business.
A trademark doesn’t protect the thing that was invented. It protects the way the thing is presented to the public such as marketing. Network marketers rely heavily on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, and others to advertise their business. Our inventor may use a catch-phrase to identify her product in the manner that certain catch-phrases are automatically identified with a company such as "it's the real thing." Slogans can be trademarked as intellectual property. They are of the mind, but they work for the company.
When the inventor markets her anti-aging cream, she will establish a website which will be an original work of authorship. Creation is its own copyright. Her copyrighted web page qualifies as intellectual property (IP) and is an intangible asset because the copyright protects how it is expressed. Splash pages published by the inventor to weed out the serious from the curious are also copyright protected.
The inventor-solopreneur now knows that her anti-aging cream’s presentation to consumers is protected by trademark as well as its marketing in the form of her copyrighted slogan and website. But what protects the invention itself? Not much. A patent, also an intangible asset, only prevents the product from being reproduced or marketed by others. Registration was not necessary to obtain her trademark or her copyright. However, such registration comes in handy for notifying others that this intellectual property is covered by law. On the other hand, to obtain a patent, it is extremely important to register for it. The inventor-solopreneur will then have about 20 years before her invention may be reproduced and marketed by someone else.
Like the formula for Domino’s pizza sauce or the recipe for Coca-Cola, what goes into our inventor's anti-aging cream is a trade secret. That can be protected by a patent. On the other hand, the proprietary formula would then be public and someone could illegally take it. It is up to the inventor to decide if this intellectual property is a viable step.
Network marketing entrepeneurs who devise their own product and then market it need to know how to identify their intangible assets or things that cannot be perceived but which work for their company. These include but are not limited to:
- Customer information if solopreneurs bought email or other customer lists
- Marketing information because it promotes the company
- Protection of intellectual property in the form of copyright, trademark, patent, or trade secrets
- If the solopreneur franchises out her product by forming a downline to market it, her downline would be an intangible asset
Solopreneneur network marketing women need software to identify their intangible assets and their intellectual property. This puts them in protective custody, gives them time and date stamped protection of their creations and frees up their time to build their brand. Go to our Resources page and look for Women Inventorz for more information -- they are chock full of tips.
Click below to see the sample reports from our ID your IP software.