Updated: Jul 21
Let’s imagine the following: you are scrolling on Instagram, reading about your industry’s newest products and services, and you fall on one item that catches your attention: your competitor is launching a new product. The catch? It’s a product similar to the one that your own small business is selling – or worse, it’s the same exact product, but with different branding. Panic! Is this infringing copyright laws? What can you do as a small business owner? Is this the end of your business? Not so fast – relax! It’s not the end of the world. It may feel demotivating, but there are steps you can take!
Every Business Is Unique
First things first, take a deep breath. While you may be thinking that this is the end because your competitor is taking your ideas, or has happened to offer the same service or product as your small business does, it is not as dramatic as you may think. It’s okay! Every business is unique, and being unique is what you can anchor yourself on to differentiate yourself and your business from your competitor. There is a reason why you shop at certain stores and not others, even if they have a similar offering: perhaps you identify with one company’s specific branding and values more than others’, or maybe you have a certain connection with that particular store. Your business is unique, even if your products are similar.
What are Your Unique Selling Points?
That being said, you still need to hone in on your business’ unique selling points. What are you offering to your customers that differentiates you from your business competitors? When launching new products, what do you place at the forefront to showcase to your customers that they need that new product, but especially need it from your small business? What do you offer to your customers and clients that is completely different from your business competitors, and how can you place more emphasis on this to grasp the right clients and keep them coming back to you? Find these unique selling points and emphasise them!
What if it Breaks Copyright Laws?
Now, there’s a difference between launching a new product and breaching copyright laws. In the UK, you automatically get copyright protection when you create new work. This means that there is no register of copyright works in the UK. You first need to establish what infringement took place, such as whether your product is patented – you need to apply for a patent! If so, and if it is being reproduced without your consent, you can claim that your copyright was infringed. Likewise, if your small business offers works of art (e.g., photography, musical, or other artistic work), you are automatically protected by copyright protection. You do not need to apply for it – if you can prove that it was originally your idea, you can claim an infringement.
So, to make things clear: for products that require a patent and trademark, it would be wise to register your designs. For products and work that are of an artistic nature, you are automatically protected by copyright law. The bottom line is: your business is unique. Customers will come back and continue doing business with you because you are unique. However, if you feel that the product idea was stolen and it is protected by the law, then by all means, protect your business!
Have you been in this situation and emerged triumphant in the end? Let our readers know what you did in the comments below!
Article By Bethany Sharp -
Bethany helps brands to scale their marketing through valuable content structures and branding so they can convert sales easily. Content ideas are no longer a struggle or taking up valuable time. Click here to find out more.