Module 5: Legal Requirements, Copyrights, and Intellectual Property Protection
Presented by Frances Harder with Aaron Renfro (Attorney, Call & Jensen)
When starting your own business you will have to choose a legal structure, or business entity. Your choice will affect different aspects of your business and its operations. It is, therefore, important to understand your basic goals and financial outlook when choosing a business structure. Start-up companies tend to worry about their business ideas being stolen. If you think your design(s) qualify for legal protection, you can ask that the person(s) to whom you will be showing the design(s) sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. This will hopefully dissuade the other party from knocking-off your design(s). We are all aware of some of the more familiar trademarks that identify a particular brand. Federal registrations can provide protection for your trademark than merely use alone. Copyright establishes the right of an author to control the use of his or her creation. Common uses of copyright in the apparel business are to protect logos and prints on fabric. It is very important to not only obtain trademark registration for company logos, but also obtain copyright protection of the same if the logos incorporate a design element and are not merely comprised of plain letters. Registering your mark will allow you to safely invest time and money in your name and label, without worrying about losing it to another manufacturer in a costly legal battle.