Protect ideas – Starting a business
It is exciting starting a new business venture. We are often approached by clients who want to start a new business, as most new business opportunities are likely to cover the use or registration of intellectual property. Examples include the use or registration of a business or product name, use of marketing or instructing materials which may be subject to copyright protection, the use of confidential information or the exploitation of a patent.
Although we are not business consultants, to assist our clients, we list below some aspects we regard important when considering starting a new business. In our experience, entrepreneurs often adopt the attitude that they will deal with any legal issue, if and when it arises. Such approach may lead to unexpected litigation which can be costly, unpleasant and risky. To minimise risks, we recommend that the legal aspects and requirements for protecting intellectual property be considered before or when starting a new business.
It is best to select a name that is distinctive and unique so that consumers will not confuse your business with other businesses. If you select a name which is descriptive of your products or services, or very common in trade, it would be very difficult to prevent other traders from using the same name.
To determine whether your use of your name is likely to infringe on the rights of another, you could instruct us to conduct relevant searches and/or investigations. In this regard, we recommend that you consider instructing us to conduct searches on the Trade Marks Register, Companies and Close Corporations Registers and .CO.ZA Domain Name Register. None of these registers are currently cross-referenced.
We further recommend that we be instructed to register your business name, domain names, slogans, logos and product names as trade marks to obtain proper protection. As the cost of a trade mark registration is low compared to possible costs relating to trade mark litigation proceedings, a trade mark registration is often regarded as a form of cheap insurance to protect the name and reputation of your business.
4. Concluding contracts
Starting a Business
Protecting New Ideas