If you work for a start-up you are probably working hard for little current pay. You are doing it because your dream is to see your hard work pay off: build a company, create a new product or process, and hopefully make some money for yourself.

Creating something new of value is hard enough. Getting it to market and getting it noticed can also be tough. Making it profitable is the ultimate challenge. But, what about protecting it?

The law has many ways of protecting property. Some would say the law is only about protecting property, but I won’t go that far. Some ways of protecting property: patents, trademarks, copyrights.

Well, if you’ve got what it takes to get patent protection (“inventive step”, the time, patience and money to pursue a patent) that might be the way to go. But, what if you’ve created an App or a website where patent protection just isn’t feasible, what can you do? How can you make sure that no one will come along and steal your idea and turn it into their business? As an entrepreneur, is this really something you even need to worry about?

A Lesson from the Affordable Care Act (formerly known as Obamacare).

The problems with the Obamacare website are well known. It didn’t work initially, it was slow, and it was difficult to navigate. But, want to hear a fact that blew my mind? There were over 700 fake Obamacare websites set up just to steal people’s personal information. That’s a heck of a lot of criminal activity just playing on their ability to mislead people using a url close to Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act.

If you don’t think this element could find you with your newly successful website or App company, you are mistaken. But, there is a solution and it isn’t cost prohibitive: Trademark protection.

According to the United States patent and Trademark Office, a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

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