Caught in the act

Share these new ideas

Doesn’t it make you angry when a large company that knows better copies an idea from a smaller entrepreneurial business?

A large retail food company was recently taken to court by a small beverage company that makes cool drinks with a distinctive retro brand image. The larger company thought that it could just “swipe” the branding slogan from the smaller supplier and stock its shelves with its own house brand product.

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Just do a Google search and you’ll see many large companies all over the world have been taken to court for copyright infringement. It happens in many industries – music, books, software.

But it’s not just large companies that do this. People do it all the time in all walks of life.

For business people, entrepreneur’s and solo artists it’s important to know your rights when it comes to copyright, company names and trademarks.

The first thing that you’ve got to understand is what is covered by intellectual property rights. Although is domiciled in South Africa its subscribers are from all over the world. We therefore would prefer to quote as our reference the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

You’ll see from the WIPO site that intellectual property includes rights relating to everything from literary, artistic and scientific works to industrial designs, trademarks, service marks and commercial names and all other rights from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artisticfields.

If you’d like to find out more, go to the WIPO website:

This international website will give you an idea of what to watch out for. Make sure you check out information that applies to the country where you do business.

For entrepreneurs, consultants, small manufacturers and even coaches who sell specialised systems, make sure when you dealing with anyone from business partners and family to suppliers that they sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). It’s not an absolute guarantee that you’ll stop someone from trying to use your idea but it makes the disclosure of your ideas to others a serious and formalised process.

When you go about producing your own ideas for profit just make sure that you don’t inadvertently or unconsciously copy from others whether big or small.

It’s far better to do your own idea generation and idea combinations to come up with products and services.

If you feel unsure of anything when it comes to copyright or trade marks, make sure you consult with a legal professional.

Stay inspired

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