How to ensure all rights, ownership and protection for a new business project?

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How to ensure all rights, ownership and protection for a new business project?

I have started up a small religion based support group in Baltimore. I am looking to conduct business, providedervices to people in need, and sell products using my own unique name and design. How do I go about properly protecting, promoting, and claiming all rights and ownership to my business and design in progress? This came as an idea but I have already began to put in the work.

Asked on November 16, 2016 under Business Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Any original text or graphics created by you, or for you by someone being paid by you to create it for you, is something you will own the copyright in. You don't have to register copyright (registering copyright adds comparatively little to protection), but should use the C-in-a-circle symbol with such content to show that you are asserting copyright and will protect i.
You can protect an original mark, logo, catchphrase, etc. as a trade- or servicemark IF it meets the criteria (e.g. not descriptive or generic; original; etc.) for being a trademark; you can find those criteria on the U.S. PTO website. You don't *have* to register the mark (you can just use the superscript "TM" with it to show that you are asserting trademark), but registration of trademark is recommended: it greatly increases your protection and lets you use the R-in-a-circle mark. You can only trademark when you are using, or about to use (within 6 months) the mark in actual commerce--you can't do it that much in advance.
You can't protect ideas or business plans generally--they are not intellectual property--but you can protect them contractually: do not disclose anything important or proprietary to anyone unless they sign a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement. You could draft one yourself and can find samples on the web, but if you think your ideas, plan, etc. are important, you are strongly encouraged to let an attorney draw up this important agreement for you.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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