07: Protecting Your Creativity
The legal side of our businesses tends not to be the most glamorous, so we put it off as long as we can. And while trademark, copyright, non-disclosures, and patent search aren’t at the forefront of our minds, they could make or break your brand.
Angie Avard Turner, an attorney for creatives, breaks down when we should be thinking about legally protecting our brand and business assets and what could happen if we aren’t proactive in this sphere.
She shares lessons on what to do with copy-cats, searching for use before naming our business or product and designing a logo, and how to enter partnerships in a positive way while still acknowledging that things might not always go as planned.
On this episode we covered:
Channeling your creativity in your work, even if it’s not what you went to school for;
Pivoting in business after seeing a hole in the market;
The difference between copyright and trademark;
When you need to think about protecting your business;
What an NDA is and how you should be using one when collaborating;
If you should be using a contract template and, if so, who should review it; and
The best time to work with an attorney in the (re)branding process.
“In 10th grade I had already made up my mind I was going to law school and I never really wavered from that. But deep down I still had this creative side and I didn’t really know what to do with it.” - Angie Avard Turner
“They were like, ‘Where did you go to design school?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, I didn’t.” And when I told them I went to law school that opened up a whole conversation of, “Well so and so copied me or knocked this off.’ Or, ‘They’ve created this product and it’s really similar to mine. How do I handle this?’” - Angie Avard Turner
“Maybe it’s my academic training. Maybe it’s perfectionism. But I’m always looking for proof that if I’m going to make a decision, I want to know it’s going to work out.” - Kim Wensel
“A lot of people are afraid to start a business because they think it’s this big, scary unknown. And it is. But to me, so is going to work for someone else.” - Angie Avard Turner
“Your business is the most vulnerable when you’re starting it because you’re like - is it going to make it? Is it not going to make it?” - Angie Avard Turner
“Really thinking through what a legal partnership would look like is overlooked. Yet you hear the horror stories of what happens when one person decides to leave or is no longer pulling their weight. You don’t think about those things when it’s just a romantic idea floating around in your heads.” - Kim Wensel
“An NDA is basically the golden rule. It’s basically saying - look we’re going to sit down and we’re going to have this discussion. It’s going to be between us and no one else. And basically I’m going to treat you the way I’d want you to treat me.” - Angie Avard Turner
“We think of copyrights as protecting the creative stuff. Trademark hinges on use and protects the brand.” - Angie Avard Turner
“Check whether you can name your company or use the visuals in your mind before you get to branding. 99% of the time it’s the opposite and I totally get it because that’s the fun part and it’s when it becomes more than just a concept in your head. But when someone has worked with a designer first and then comes to me I have to say that I’m not quite sure I can protect what they’ve already invested in creating.” - Angie Avard Turner
“Being proactive is about minimizing risk before something becomes an issue. And it may never become an issue, but it may not because you’ve taken care of it.” - Angie Avard Turner
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