Ways to Protect You and Your Business
By Jingyao Guo
November 11, 2018—At the Young Entrepreneur Society’s 4th meeting on Sunday, November 11th, our guest Attorney Kandace D. Walter share with us some useful information about the ways to protect you and your business.
As a very experienced attorney, Ms. Walter first shared with us that it is best to have a written down contract for proof. Depending on your business, there are many ways to protect your business, patents, trademarks, and copyright are all ways to protect your business, but they are all used in different cases.
There are 2 types of patents: Utility patents and Design Patents. Utility Patents protects the function and expires in 20 years. There are two types of Utility patents, The Provisional patents are one of them, which give you time to see the progress of your invention and decided if you would want a patent or not. The Non- Provisional Patents, unlike the Provisional patents, doesn’t give you much time. The other type of Patents is Design Patents. Unlike the Utility patents, which protects the function, the Design patents only protect what it looks like and expires in 14 years.
Differed from the Patents, which expires, Trademarks can be renewed every ten years. Trademarks distinguish the product from others and there are three levels of trademarks. They are the Common Law, the State, and the Federal Trademarks. If you insist on making your product nationwide, then the Federal trademarks might work better than the State Trademarks since it protects your product throughout the whole country.
Another very common way of protection is copyright. Copyright mainly controls the copying of work and it is probably the most used way of protection. Copyrights were used to protect books, plays, and many other forms of work. Unlike the Trademarks, there are no state copyright, only Federal copyrights. Copyright lasts the life of the owner plus 70 years after their death.
So, let’s suppose that one day you walk into Chick-fil-a and try to steal their recipe for making chicken nuggets. You are thinking, “Oh, there’s no way you can protect chicken nuggets.” Well, actually, there is a way that we can protect the secret recipe of Chick-fil-a’s chicken nuggets, and that is Trade Secret. For it to be a Trade Secret, it must be valuable, not publicly known, and at least the owner put efforts into keeping it a secret.
We truly give thanks to Ms. Kandace D. Walter for coming and sharing with us some great ways to protect our business. At the end of this meeting, we realized we have truly learned a lot of knowledge that will help us protect our future businesses when we start our own journey as an entrepreneur.