I have been talking a lot recently about the importance of protecting your business online. An important piece of this is to understand how to use copyright and trademark laws to your benefit.
It is easy to get confused about the differences between copyright protection and trademarks.
The best way that I can boil it down is that Copyright protects your content. Trademarks protect your brand.
Copyright laws (in Canada and internationally through treaties) protect the original content that you create and publish. Online courses, blog posts, photos, podcasts, ebooks, songs can all be copyrighted works.
Copyright protection is automatic upon publication of an original work. Registration is possible (and easy!) but not required.
Using the ©️ symbol along with a copyright notice is a good preventative measure. i.e. ©️ Legal Essentials Inc. 2020. All Rights Reserved.
Trademarks protect elements of your brand which can include business names, product names, slogans, logos or any combinations thereof.
Trademarks should be registered for maximum protection. This trademark registration is done on a country by country basis. In Canada, trademarks are registered through CIPO (Canadian Intellectual Property Office) and can take 12-18 months to complete.
The benefits of registering a trademark are that your business has the exclusive right to use the trademark in respect of certain goods and services. You have strong enforcement mechanisms for anyone who infringes on your trademark. You also create an important asset for your business which you can license to others or sell.
If you would like a cheat sheet which helps you keep this all straight, you can download one here https://www.onlinelegalessentials.ca/IPcheatsheet
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