Intellectual property is a double-edged sword in Tennessee. On the one hand, IP provides an edge over competitors and helps owners to claim their lion’s share of the market. Then, on the other hand, IP can present a vulnerability for businesses. Unauthorized disclosure could negatively impact a company’s success due to replication. This is the case whether someone is guarding the world’s best recipe for fried chicken or the formula behind engine oil for diesel pushers. 

Forbes recommends taking a proactive approach to protecting intellectual property. Register IP early whether they are computer codes, screenplays or beautiful paintings. There are many people out there looking to make a quick buck off someone else’s hard work. Early registration helps to reduce the likelihood of becoming their next victim. Some might still try, but at least copyrights and trademarks may give some legal recourse. 

Here are some specific tips from Forbes: 

  • Search state registries for copyrights to ensure there is no conflict. 
  • Do a conflict search with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. 
  • Identify what type of protection suits specific IP. 

Business owners who wish to protect their IP often turn to copyrights, but trademarks are useful as well. Entrepreneur.com recommends using trademarks on logos and brand names. Trademarks are especially useful when navigating the online business landscape where anyone can claim to be anyone and people often create parody accounts of real ones. These accounts can create confusion and potential scandals. 

Another perk of trademarks is that they are not especially expensive to obtain and they never expire. Individuals may pay as little as $275 for trademark fees. After half a decade, another small fee is due. Thereafter, individuals usually pay just a few hundred dollars every decade. Most people consider this a steal considering the benefits it provides.