Have you come up with a great idea for a business?
Thinking of starting your own business? Ideas and opportunities are all around us, all it takes is someone willing to go the extra mile to nurture and grow that idea into a reality. Today we will discuss how you can protect your businesses name and/or idea, as well as registering your company.
Protecting your business name is actually easier than you might think it is. You can register your business name with the Company and Intellectual Property Commission, also known as the CIPC. Once you have registered your name, nobody can apply to the commission for the same name. Nobody can trade using a similar name without infringing on your rights, it is illegal. So the sooner you register your name the better!!!
The Company and Intellectual Property Commission is also in charge of issuing trademarks. You can apply to register a trademark with them which, if successful, will then see symbol placed at the top right of the name/mark or symbol you have registered. An unregistered trademark will see you carrying a ™ while a registered trademark is shown by the symbol ®. Both will carry legal rights to the owners but the registered trademark will carry more protection than an unregistered trademark.
When it comes to registering an idea there are two classifications; is your idea an invention, or is it a artistic work such as a book, play, music, etc. An invention is a new idea that has yet to be done by anyone. Your “invention” can be protected by applying for a patent. Once again you apply for a patent with the CIPC. This is not a cheap option and is a long and involved process, but if successful your idea will be protected. You will be able to use legal action against anybody that uses your idea that has successfully been patented.
Have you come up with a piece of music that you don’t want anyone else taking credit for? Any artistic work that is your own is protected by copyright laws. Authors do not need to apply or register a work to be copyrighted, this is an automatic Common Law. If your work is indeed infringed upon, then you can apply for a court interdict against said person in order to prohibit them from continuing with such infringements.
Now that you have protected your business idea and/or name it is time to register your business. You can register a business as a Private Company or as a Public Company. When starting a new business it best to choose a Private Company (Pty). A public company can be a long and involved process and isn’t always suited to a new small business owner. A business normally goes “public” at a later stage of its life when it has matured.
You can register a Private Company with the Company and Intellectual Property Commission. To register your business you will need to have a name and a founding statement. You will first register your name and then you may register your founding statement.
This article was adapted for Smart Money and was taken from: https://money101.co.za/starting-your-own-business-protecting-and-registering/