Protecting intellectual property, stopping counterfeit
products & counterfeit currency pose a unique set of
problems for a small business.
Small Businesses & Intellectual Property Protection
Perhaps the problem that stands out biggest is that a
small business has a smaller set of financial resources & limited expert resources (lawyers & procedural experts) to use proactively
or reactively to protect intellectual property.
Unlike a big business, which has such resources & can patent & trademark
every new thing it even thinks of creating, a small
business has to have a clearer set of priorities.
Can you as a small business owner or manager "fly under
the radars" of unseen, phantom competitors without appropriate intellectual property protections for a period of time until a product is proven? ...before spending the hundreds of dollars per hour that a
lawyer might cost?
That is a judgment call for you to make.
Not protecting your intellectual property early on may
end up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars down
the line in legal fees, lost customers, lost sales, etc.
Can a "poor man's copyright" or poor man's trademark
protect your intellectual property & creations for your
business... at least until you prove the new market &
generate new cash flow?
What about a "provisional patent"?
StopFakes.com will help you answer these questions.
Fortunately, small businesses can protect themselves from counterfeit currency relatively inexpensively... for both small amounts of transactions such as at a restaurant or small retail
store as well as for large amounts of bills transacted,
such as at a bank or money changer.
In addition to some techniques you can learn for free, there are products that can pay for themselves the first time the stopping counterfeit $100 bill.And if you're small business processes large amounts of currency, there are faster machines that automatically account & verify the authenticity of a stack of legal tender in various denominations.
Here are some facts concerning small businesses & threats against your intellectual property.
Approximately 10 percent of the medicines in the world are counterfeit.
-- World Health Organization
Small businesses represent more than... 97% of all identified exports.
-- U.S. Census Bureau
American businesses are estimated to lose a whopping $250 billion to copyright piracy. Overall intellectual property theft costs us 750,000 jobs a year.
-- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
One of the keys to economic diversification is ensuring that entrepreneurs have the incentives to trade. The
protection of intellectual property rights is central to a diversified economy.
-- Hon. Carlos Carlos Guterriez, Secretary Of Commerce, U.S. Department Of Commerce
More than $600 billion in pirated and counterfeit goods flooded the world markets last year.
-- World Customs Organization
35% of the software installed on personal computers worldwide was pirated in 2004... losses due to piracy are estimated at $33 billion.
-- Business Software Alliance, Global Software Piracy Study
It is our estimate that the U.S. is losing from $2.5
billion to $3.8 billion per year -- just from piracy of copyrighted materials, just in China
-- United States Trade Representative
Intellectual property has become the engine that drives the American economy.
-- Jon Dudas, U.S. Undersecretary of Comerce for Intellectual Property
Information from the government to help protect your intellectual property:
Why should small businesses protect their intellectual
While it is difficult to determine the exact scope and
extent of the problem, every indication is that copyright
piracy, trademark counterfeiting, and patent infringement
have become significant problems in the business
community in general, including small businesses.
Certainly any small business that exports its IP
protected products abroad or sources its products or
parts overseas must take into account the potential for
rampant IP theft in many countries.
U.S. small businesses are at a particular disadvantage,
however, because they may lack the knowledge, expertise
or resources necessary to prevent the theft of their
ideas and products. In fact, research conducted by the
USPTO this year found that only 15 percent of small
businesses that conduct business overseas know that they
need to file for IP protection abroad.
Many small businesses also may not have personnel and
operations overseas, so they lack the "eyes and ears"
needed to be vigilant globally and the theft of their IP
can often go undetected. In addition, small businesses
generally do not have the level of access or the
resources, such as specialized legal counsel, that may be
available to larger companies.
The USITC Trade Remedy Assistance Office (TRAO) provides information to small businesses concerning the remedies and benefits available under U.S. trade laws.
USPTO Small Business Page
USITC also has a Trade Remedy Assistance Office (TRAO) that provides information to small businesses concerning the remedies and benefits available under U.S. trade laws; and assists eligible small businesses in preparing and filing a Section 337 complaint. Information about the TRAO is available at www.usitc.gov/trade_remedy/trao or it can be reached by telephone at (800) 343-9822 or (202) 205-2200, or by fax at (202) 205-2139.
The USTR (Office of the United States Trade Representative) maintains the Office of Small Business Affairs was created with the cooperation of the U.S. Small Business Administration to address small business concerns in the development, negotiation, and implementation of U.S. trade policy. More information is available at: www.ustr.gov/Trade_Sectors/Small_Business/Section_Index.html .