Home / Insights / Make the Most of February 29th: IP Measures You Can Take in One Day

Make the Most of February 29th: IP Measures You Can Take in One Day

by | Feb 27, 2024 | Basics of Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property

The most common frustration of business owners looking to get a handle on their intellectual property is that the process can feel overwhelming – to the point that they avoid it all together. On the opposite end of the spectrum, business owners who go through the process of registering their IP often treat it as a “one and done” task, moving onto other items on their endless “to do” list. But this year we get an extra sunrise and sunset, a full 24-hour bonus level, and I’ve got some single-day IP measures that hopefully bust up the task paralysis. 

Record an Inventory

Most IP protection focuses on registering with a government body, but the often overlooked first step is gathering all the information needed for that registration. Knowing what you have and when you got it is important both for protecting your IP and protecting your business from claims of IP infringement. 

Make a list of all the trademarks (branding) you’re using, the copyrighted materials (media) you’ve created, and the processes you’ve developed. For everything you identify in that list, include:

  • When it was made
  • Who created it
  • How it was made
  • When it was first used
  • A backup copy of the IP

While seemingly simple, this is something that can be difficult to recreate down the line should your business decide to move forward with registration – or be hit with an infringement claim. 

Double Check That Contact Information

If your business holds any IP registrations, use your extra day to double check your contact information associated with the registration. 

Maybe you’ve changed attorneys since that registration was issued. Have your website domain and email addresses changed? Did you get a new phone number? Or move to a new location? 

Outdated contact information associated with your IP registrations can cause you to miss important communications regarding your IP. This could be contact from the government on renewing/maintaining your IP registration, or lost business opportunities from other businesses interested in licensing your IP. Do yourself a favor and double check that your IP registrations are up to date with your business’s current contact information. 

See If You’ve Changed How You Use Your IP

After registering your IP, each year out from that initial date increases the probability that you’ve changed how you use it. Not every change matters… But there are a lot that do. 

If you started using your trademark/branding on company vehicles, that likely doesn’t matter. But if you started using your trademark for goods or services that weren’t in your original registration, it may be time to look at filing a new application to add those goods and services to your registration.

 You might have started publishing some of your physical print materials on your website. No big deal, and your copyrights are unchanged. But if you’ve turned your instructional print materials into how-to videos on your website or YouTube, that is a whole new work in need of protection. 

As your business changes, so does the way you use your IP and it’s important to do a spot check to make sure there isn’t a gap between what you have and what you need. 

Implement Digital Watermarks

Whether you have registered works or not, implementing digital watermarks to your media and documents can be an extremely helpful tool in determining whether someone has misappropriated your work. 

There are several digital watermarks which go beyond a typical watermark and provide a digital forensic “breadcrumb” to tie back any would-be infringers to your original works. These can be applied to not just pictures and documents, but audio files, videos, really any form of data that is part of your IP. This ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure. 

Seize the Leap Day

February 29th only comes around every 4 years, and with that extra time you could knock out one (or all) of these simple tasks to improve your business’s IP measures. Carpe Diem. 

This post was written by guest author Logan K. McEwen.


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