One of the most common fears every creators has is his/her idea being lifted and plagiarized before s/he even has the chance to do anything. The next thing you know you’re left to scramble from pillar to post while someone else is minting money off your genius. This fear is especially true and extremely valid for creators who are considering crowdfunding their idea. So many individuals back away from crowdfunding because they’re afraid it puts their whole work under the spotlight before it’s even ready.
Who knows when someone in some part of the worlds takes 'inspiration' from it?Fortunately, no self-respecting rewards based platform will ever allow you to crowdfund for simply an intangible idea. You have to show a prototype, a rough cut, a work in progress- and all of this has to be more concrete than a few random sketches and a haphazardly put together excuse of a blueprint. Naturally, when you have a prototype that works ready, the first thing you should and will do is go and secure its rights. Well. This is not a problem without a solution. If you’re an artist, a product developer or a creator of any kind, you should be familiar of this sweet little thing we call 'protection of intellectual property (IP)'. Let’s try to figure out the four basic categories that constitute protection of Intellectual Property.
Trademark You obviously know what the trademark stands for, given how much you’ve seen this in advertisements and brand logos etc. When you register a trademark, you are given sole and exclusive ownership of the brand you’ve registered. Securing the trademark is perhaps the first thing you should secure, before you decide to take your project to any crowdfunding platform. This prevents anyone from using styles, design, language that is exclusive and symbolic of your brand.
Patent While a trademark prevents anyone from using/misusing/modifying your brand name, logo, symbols etc. to their advantage, a patent prevents anyone from making, using or selling your work under their name.
Copyright 'Copyright issues' is one phrase that goes around a lot in the creative circles.
Unlike trademark and patent that protect the very idea, copyright protects the execution of this idea. Generally, anything and everything that goes up on the internet comes under the copyright law. This means that everything- right from the pictures, music, videos, text, even the backend code to a website! You get a copyright when your idea becomes a tangible entity.
Trade secret Ideally, this should remain exactly what it’s called- a secret. Things like marketing strategies, formulae, insider information, private database etc. are covered under trade secrets. When you launch your crowdfunding campaign, you have to take care of what information you give out so as to not leave yourself open and vulnerable to exploitation. When a trade secret loses its intellectual protection, you basically have complete exclusivity only over your patents.
These things, obviously, tend to take time. Therefore, you will find it extremely useful to time this such that your property protection application doesn’t expire before you launch your crowdfunding campaign. Good luck!