Who Said That?
In an era of expanding interconnection, creative ideas spread like wildfire. We’ve all seen how fast popular videos go viral on Facebook and how ingenious bits get full publicity on Twitter – and often with minimum effort from its makers. The bottom line is: people want to share. We’ve already covered how important the safety of equity crowdfunding is for investors in a three series blog post, but what about the safety matter of intellectual property (IP)? As it’s been said before, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. By the way, who said that first? The Cistercian Abbot Saint Bernard of Clairvaux? Or… Madonna?
IP Protection Attracts Investments
One of the core predictors of crowdfunding success is the amount of exposure the company receives before and during the campaign. Naturally, the majority of the issuer’s attention falls on practical aspects, including how to stretch his business idea among the masses. In the excitement of putting his innovation out there for the world to see, he might miss the opportunity to imprint the company’s name on his own concept. He might give less attention to protecting the very reason his small business will make life easier and/or the world a better place. Thus, he jeopardizes his place in the operating industry. While his innovative products/services might pass the market test with flying colors, not securing his IP might lose investors and add competition.
A Patent for a Potent Idea
The US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) is the entity that grants inventors sole rights to an invention. All inventions must meet a “novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability” criteria and the entire process from application to grant may extend over a period of years. The costs of a patent depend on the technology involved in the making of the product. To get an idea of the costs of securing a patent, we found that the attorney fees for patenting the paper clip invention may vary from $5.000 to $7.000. Due to the complexity of the patent application process, it is generally recommended to file for a patent only when the products and services are truly novel and realistic market opportunities exist.
Trademarks for Clear Trades
Filing for copyrights and trademarks is a sure way to secure your ideas from IP theft and practice safe equity crowdfunding. Obtaining these two forms of protection doesn’t necessarily require hiring an attorney and you may file for them online. Registering your trademark starts at $169 + US government filing taxes and it protects words, phrases, symbols or designs (logos) linked to the the source of the products/services, your business. For protected authorship on more elaborate works (novels, movies, songs, computer software, architecture, photographs), consider filing for copyrights.
Selling stock over the internet to non-accredited investors is about to get real. While everyone is eagerly waiting for its legalization, the equity crowdfunding phenomenon still remains a subject we know little about. Under its great umbrella, small companies of all sizes, shapes and colors congregate to test their business ideas, concepts, competencies. As a business owner who wants to stand out in the crowd, the last thing you want to do is fail to protect your goods.
Therefore, here at truCrowd, we’re using Virtual Data Rooms with NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) capabilities. First, we ensure good IP protection by authenticating each user. Second, only investors that are approved by the issuer will have access to confidential information about the company and its offering. Third, the Offering’s Data Room will be equipped with logs for every action performed by the reviewers, who may not forward, save or print any document they view. Fourth, the user’s name and IP address will be posted on each PDF file, which protects against taking pictures of the screen. In addition, we strongly advise you to secure your creative belongings and practice safe equity crowdfunding.
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