By Anita Ginsberg

When you are starting up your own company, you need to take steps to make sure that your intellectual property is secure. Without knowledge of trademarks and intellectual property, you could be sued and have your ideas stolen before you know it. Each of the six steps below are going to protect all the ideas that flow out of your company.

Copyright Everything

When you place the copyright symbol on a document, you are automatically making it obvious to others that it is illegal for them copy it. However, you need to date the copyright to make sure that you can prove your case if you must make a claim. Simply putting a copyright symbol on your photos or website is only one step to protecting your company. While registering for copyright isn’t always necessary, it will protect you in lawsuits.

Trademark Everything

You want to make sure that you all the logos and designs for your business are trademarked. You may have a long stream of applications going out, but you must protect yourself. The date on the application alone is proof enough that you had the idea first. A trademark is different from a copyright, and entails things like slogans, symbols and designs.

Register Everything

You want to make sure that you have patents on all the new technology, products and services that you create for your business. You want to have a patent on everything because you can keep people from producing your ideas for profit. Also, the patent allows you to sell these products under license to other businesses.

Hire A Lawyer

You need to hire a lawyer to help set up your business, but you also need a lawyer to help with your trademarks and intellectual property. Your attorney can complete the incorporation of your business, and they can complete your trademark or patent applications for you. Lawyers know all the paperwork and applications you must complete to protect yourself, giving you piece of mind that everything was done on your part in the event of problems in the future.

Establish Your Name

When you name your company, that name needs to be cemented in your industry. You need to market your business to make sure that people know you provide the products and services you create. If your business is not synonymous with the things you do, you are not going to gain more customers. Also, your industry rivals will respect you when they know you exist. You will avoid many confrontations if you have established your name.

Find Your Market

You need to make sure that you know the market for your products or services. There are markets that are very small, but there are other markets that are very large. Your business plan must include what you believe you can sell every month, and these figures must be determined before you venture out to new projects.

When you are trying to get your start-up going, you need to make sure you follow the six steps above. Each one will help you get your business off the ground successfully.

Informational credit to Carter West.

Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about business, finance, education and home. She graduated from Colorado State University in 2004. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.