In business, you need to get every edge you can get over your competitors. Something a cliché statement, we know, but one that needs to hammer home, quite often, all the same. The thing here is that people simply don’t use all the tools and tricks that they may have at their disposal. You need to get ahead, to focus, and to improve. Whether it’s investing more resources into certain areas of your business, or maybe trying out a risky endeavor, the last thing you want is to fall back. However, a big part of all of this is protection.
Less than savoury characters will try to get at you in any way they can. If you have unscrupulous competitors, one of the first things they may try is to try to mess with your IP’s. If you truly want to stay safe, you need to patent your name, logo, software, and, of course, your website’s IP. Below you will find a short guide on how to do just that.
Patenting a Website
Despite what some people may think, you can’t actually patent a website. This is because a website is the sum of many different parts, pages, images, designs, features, coding… Just to make things a bit more clear, in order to get a patent, it needs to fulfill the following three conditions. First of all, it needs to be useful. This is a very broad term, but without going into the semantics of the matter, know that as long as the thing you’re patenting actually has some function. Next, it needs to be non-obvious. This one is tricky, but it’s important to mention here because it will be analyzed in detail later. Essentially, you don’t want to patent something is generic. A banal, but still a good example, would be to patent your special banana bread with just the term “bananas”. This can also cause confusion within consumers. Finally, it needs to be new. So, in other words, something nobody else patented before.
So how does this tie to your website? Simple. Since a website is a sum of many parts, you can patent some of these parts, but not the whole thing. You can patent an interesting and unique UX design, or a specific function nobody heard of before. You can get a design patent that protects a unique color scheme and pattern combination.
How to protect your IP
For the reasons above, you should focus on protecting your website’s intellectual property. There are several ways in which you can do this. However, before we begin listing these out, we would like to point towards the fact that the finer rules and regulations for these matters vary greatly from country to country. Every government has its own specific laws that regulate various aspects of intellectual property. However, certain segments and areas are actually universal. At the very least, you will get some semblance as to what to expect when you walk in at the trademark of lawyers office. Hiring an attorney or a specialized IP resolution is also a very viable option that can streamline the entire process.
With that out of the way, let’s begin.
With copyrights, you can protect all the content found on your website. This means your own images, posts, articles, and videos. Furthermore, you can most often protect the source code of your website as well. Know that the creator of all of this content automatically receives copyright. However, you can add some extra protection and backup if you register with your country’s copyright office. Registration is important because you will have some extra legal backup in case any infringement comes to pass.
Trade secrets are a specific type of protection where you essentially have protection over a specific piece of information. For example, KFC’s recipe is a well-kept secret, backed by laws and regulations. As far as your website’s IP is concerned, you can protect the code behind it with a trade secret. These usually utilize IP assignments, disclosure agreements, confidentially contracts…
Trademarks are used to protect your image, brand, name, logo, slogan… Setting up a trademark for your website’s name, for example, can protect you from any fraudulent and problematic people on the internet. They could pass on your content as theirs, or, in contrast, create an almost identical website or logo and sell their own goods, services, or content, relying on your own good name and brand.
Protecting your website’s IP all about you protecting yourself, your hard work, and your good name. The many ways you can do this should, however, make you feel safe. As long as you invest the effort, and get proper copyright, trademark, or patent, you will be good to go. And of course, you can always set up a specific contract to protect certain aspects of your website as trade secrets.