Copycats on the Prowl – How to Protect Your Legacy

Copycats on the Prowl – How to Protect Your Legacy

You have probably heard the proverb, “necessity is the mother of invention,” but to us it has a whole different meaning. You see, we work with inventors every single day and if there is one thing we know to be true it is that mothers invent a lot.
 
Let me say that again. Mothers. Invent. A. LOT.
 
And I’m not just talking about the act of birthing children as an ultimate form of invention (take THAT Einstein), but rather the MILLIONS of mommy products, services, and ideas just a click away online. And why not? If you can keep your toddler’s shoes on you can accomplish anything.
 
The fact is that mommies are busy, stressed, and exhausted, but they are also innovative — always creating ways to make the mommy life easier. And if a mom comes up with something really worthwhile she might like to share it on sites like Etsy or Amazon.
 
But as I always tell my clients, an idea worth sharing is an idea worth stealing (or copying). And when someone copies your idea it’s like punching you in the face and then running away with your toddler’s ice cream cone. Not cool.
 
Forget what you tell your kids about sharing. If you and your best friend were both whisked away by Chris Hemsworth, you might have to destroy her in order to claim what is yours. You can’t pee without your kids wanting to join you, but you shouldn’t have to share Chris Hemsworth.
 
And you shouldn’t have to share your best creations or ideas either. You should be able to leverage these things to pay for music lessons, vacations, or college without worrying about some copycat skimming off the top. You want your kids to piggyback off of you, not some stranger wannabe on the other side of a computer screen.
 
So how do you stop the copycats from stealing the goods? Intellectual property. Just follow the recipes below.
 
Note: These are cookie cutter recipes but you are a snowflake. Please consult an attorney to learn how best to approach your unique situation.

 

Patent

Prep Time: 2-3 weeks (using a very experienced attorney)
Cook Time: 1-3 years (registration process)
Yield: Obtain a monopoly in your invention
Shelf Life: 15-20 years
 
Ingredients:

  1. One or more inventions, discoveries, or ideas.

 
Instructions:

  1. Make a new invention or discovery.
  2. Register the patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  3. Have a lawyer write a scary letter (Cease and Desist) to your copycat.
  4. Consider making a deal with or suing your copycat, if necessary.
  5. Enjoy building your legacy.

 

Trademark

Prep Time: 1-2 business days (using an attorney)
Cook Time: 6-12 months (registration process)
Yield: Distinguishes your goods and services from that of your copycat
Shelf Life: Forever
 
Ingredients:

  1. Words, phrases, symbols, or designs that distinguish your goods or services.

 
Instructions:

  1. Create a brand identifier to distinguish your goods or services from that of your copycat.
  2. Register the trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  3. Have a lawyer write a scary letter (Cease and Desist) to your copycat.
  4. Consider making a deal with or suing your copycat, if necessary.
  5. Enjoy building your legacy.

 

Copyright

Prep Time: 1-2 business days (using an attorney)
Cook Time: 8-13 months (registration process)
Yield: Protection for your works of authorship
Shelf Life: The day you die plus 90 years
 
Ingredients:

  1. Original works of authorship (e.g., literature, art, or videos).

 
Instructions:

  1. Create an original work of authorship.
  2. Register the copyright with the Library of Congress.
  3. Have a lawyer write a scary letter (Cease and Desist) to your copycat.
  4. Consider making a deal with or suing your copycat, if necessary.
  5. Enjoy building your legacy.
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