Many public speakers, corporate trainers, and coaches tend to start out in a humble fashion, usually as a one-man show or sole proprietor in their training and coaching business. The early days of their career are spent finding the next deal, creating new content, and marketing themselves and their materials. Seldom do they devote time and attention toward protecting their intellectual property, which paradoxically, forms the most essential element that builds a training business.
Trainers, speakers and coaches rely on their very own intellectual property to create courseware, write articles, and publish book. They also rely on their intellectual property to stand out from the competitors, and to seek additional financing.
Thus, whenever possible, I have always tried to encourage speakers, trainers and coaches to look into protecting their intellectual property right on the onset of their business.
Here are two major types of protection that you can engage for your intellectual property.
Protection #1: Trademark
You can protect the name of your business, the names of your programs, and all your business logos by registering for trademark protection.
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design that identifies your product and distinguishes it from your competitors.
Your business name and logo define your unique competitive advantage and defines your brand. It is also important to make sure that you aren’t infringing on someone else’s trademarks.
Protection #2: Copyrights
Copyright refers to any original piece of work that you have created that exist in fixed, tangible mediums. While songwriters copyright their songs and filmmakers copyright their files, public speakers and trainers can also copyright their courseware, syllabus, and methodologies.
If you have original website copy, marketing materials or other creative works that you’re using in your business, you have a copyright on them.
In general, your work must be substantially original. It must be work you created yourself or work you have paid for or bought over. You have to make sure that the piece of work is exclusively owned by you. But copyrighting your work also prevents others from doing the same; from stealing your work and using it as theirs without giving reference or credit to you.
In conclusion, the protection of your intellectual properties through the use of trademarks and copyrights are vital. Spend some time and money working on how you can really protect your business so as not to regret later. Do not wait until it is too late to protect what is truly yours.
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