My wife and I recently toured the northeast to watch the leaves change colors and we stopped in a gallery where I found an interesting item. Chris Morse, the owner of the Granary Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard, had this unique item he actually offered to a good home for free.

Intellectual Property Photo It was called “Whist.”

How does this apply to protecting your Intellectual Property (IP)?

In your business, if you have a unique way of teaching, coaching, organizing your product, creating a process, or even an acronym you created for your process, it is worth protecting with a trademark or registration mark.

As an example, I do not like to talk about “retirement.” On a ranch when a cow is no longer productive and the rancher puts it out to pasture to die or sells it for meat, the term is to “retire the cow.”

That is not a pretty way to think about retirement.

Instead of talking about retirement planning, financial freedom, or building retirement funds, I created the term Complete Financial Choice®.

This is where you can choose to work, or not. You can choose to travel, or not. You can choose to do whatever you want because your money is working for you and providing the income so you have Complete Financial Choice®.

Getting back to the Whist product; it was manufactured around 1889 and appears to be some sort of game.

What I found of most interest was a sheet in the box that explained how the current company purchased the rights to manufacture the item.

They owned the copyrights, patents, and trademarks and they listed them all. And they said if anyone creates anything similar, or something that could even be mistaken for their item, they would be in violation of their rights.

And they printed the legal sections that backed up their claim to frighten you from even thinking about infringing on their rights.

Intellectual Property Photo
I found this funny in several respects:

  • There were no instructions on how to use this product.
  • If it was a game, there were no instructions on how to play it.
  • Whatever this was, I had no idea what to do with it.
  • But the company went to great lengths to protect their rights and control this item, and I don’t even know what it is or what it was.

You might not think what you created has value, but it can. Someone else might think it has great value and submit a trademark, service mark, or apply for a copyright if you don’t.

For example, you could find yourself talking about your process, and if someone else likes it and files for a trademark, you might not have the right to use the process you created because they now have the rights to it.

No one else can talk about supporting people to create Complete Financial Choice® without giving me credit for the concept because it is a registered trademark that I own.

Again, consider filing for a trademark registration on any unique process, product or method that you’ve created.

What do you consider unique to the work that you do?