Episode 007 - Single White Female

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Let’s talk copycats.

4 different main types of copycats:

1. Copying your product or design

2. Copying the way you market your business on social media

3. Creating a design based off an idea you shared

4. Copying your values and branding

What you can do to stop it:

1. Give them a chance to correct it

2. Hire a lawyer to send a cease and desist

3. What if someone calls you out for being a copycat and you didn’t intentionally do it?

What you can do to protect yourself:

1. See if your product/service can be copyrighted.

2. Keep it close to the vest until it’s ready, and if possible don’t share it until it has been full copyrighted/trademarked 

3. Market yourself as a thought leader and build your tribe.

Copyright vs. Trademark

A copyright protects the creative, tangible work, not the ideas. The term means that the work can be perceived, reproduced, or communicated, as opposed to something that is just an idea in your mind, which cannot be copyrighted.

    • Books

    • Movies

    • Songs

    • Photos

    • artistic creations

    • web content

    • poetry, and writing.

This definition includes several important concepts:

    • It must be original.

    • It must have a creative aspect.

    • It must be a tangible medium.

Trademarks protect names, terms, and symbols that identify and differentiate a company and its goods.A trademark can include:

    • phrases, symbols, or designs, as well as images, colors, and even smells and sounds.

Trademarks offer protection for a brand within certain realms. For example, if your last name was Gap and you wanted to open a clothing store, you wouldn't be able to do so because there is already a company that owns the Gap brand. Alternately, you might be able to own a pizza place called Gap. This is likely legal as most consumers are unlikely to confuse the Gap clothing store with the Gap pizza restaurant. It's also unlikely that Gap clothing will expand into the pizza business.

A registered trademark offers protection against improper use. The owner of a federally registered trademark can sue for infringement. It also helps the owner defend against imported goods that might infringe upon the trademark.

Intellectual property that can be trademarked cannot be copyrighted. Intellectual property that can be copyrighted cannot be trademarked. For example, a company can trademark its name and logo and copyright its videos and books.

A trademark is protected forever as long as proper procedures are followed. It must be renewed every 10 years. A copyright lasts for the life of the author, plus 75 years. So, you’re definitely protected!

The moral of the story is: Be the bigger person. Yes, there’s room for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you should be a doormat. If someone is copying you, there’s a good chance they’re going to burn out on their own because they clearly don’t have their own original ideas or intellect.

Homework

Make a list of everything in your business or brand that could be copied, and see if they can be copyrighted or trademarked. 

Resources

Rocket Lawyer

Gay of Thrones

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Samantha Welker