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Social Media and Security: Keeping Your Business Safe  

Social Media and Security: Keeping Your Business Safe  
Social media security should be taken seriously if you want your company to thrive, your customers to remain safe online, and your brand representation to remain on top form. Unfortunately, there are people out there that may impersonate your brand or hack your social media accounts. If you want to keep your business safe, read on to find how to do so and what can happen if you don’t. Potential Threats The main threats that can harm your reputation and business are: Fake links which look like your website, but are actually a downloadable malware Impersonation accounts which could sell fake products to potential customers, leaving them unhappy with your brand Impersonating profiles of staff members to gain private and personal data Communication of wrong information which could affect the stock price Hacking of your social media profiles to gain confidential data or post false information The above threats can happen to any business, even small businesses, so you should never believe your business is immune to threats. Instead, you should follow safety advice to ensure your social media is safe from hackers and trolls online. The Cost to Your Business Unfortunately, social media scams such as the ones above can damage a company’s reputation and may lead to financial loss. Any customers who have fallen for this scam will have less trust in the company and will be likely to inform others, meaning many more people are less likely to trust your real profiles and website. You may even deal with negative press over the issue. If you haven’t taken the necessary steps to keep your social media accounts safe, you could be liable for paying back disgruntled customers. Best Social Media Safety Practices There are several simple steps you can take today to implement a safer and more secure way of working with social media, here are a few ideas to get you started: Change passwords regularly, and make them randomised Form a company social media policy that must be signed by each employee Regularly search for your brand name on social media to ensure there are no fake accounts Never list vacation times of management on any social media accounts, whether this be your own personal account of your business account Update your privacy settings regularly, especially if employees have left the company Permanently delete unused accounts Inform your customers if you are aware of any dangers or fake accounts associated with your company If you want to keep your business safe from fake profiles, consider using online brand protection services for businesses. FraudWatch International can protect your company by detecting and removing impersonating profiles from social media, as well as in many other ways. Check out their website for more information on how they can help you to keep your business safe. Being safe online is important for all businesses. Social media is a fantastic, free tool that can drive sales and improve customer retention. Follow the above steps to maintain safety and your company’s...
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How to File a Patent for Your Invention

How to File a Patent for Your Invention
How to File a Patent for Your Invention Inventors are highly prized in any market, since their work is often the focal point that other infrastructure, marketing, and production coalesce around. But as an inventor, whether in a startup or independently, it is important to make the most of any invention you create. This means protecting your original work legally. In this article, we look at one of the primary tools at the disposal of any inventor: the patent, and how to file one.     Why File a Patent? Patents provide a level of economic security and market edge for their holders. They are specifically designed to incentivize invention and innovation, offering an avenue to significant potential profits for an invention that is patented quickly and correctly. Patents fall under the category of intellectual property (IP) law, and are one of four kinds of IP protection, the others being copyrights, trade secrets, and trademarks. Copyrights cover original creative work, trade secrets involve confidential information that benefits a company competitively, and trademarks protect branding and brand identity. However, patents may be the most powerful intellectual property tool. Holding a patent grants a twenty-year monopoly (in the United States) for the development, production, and sale of the invention in question. This means that no other companies can compete via imitation for this time period, allowing the best possible version of the invention to be produced and sold, gaining more profits by being a unique entity in the market. Filing a patent can make the difference between being swallowed by competitors who have the infrastructure to take your idea and produce it more cheaply or more quickly, and having the time and resources to perfect your invention and get rewarded for its genesis. Sure, the patent filing process is time consuming and costs money, but the potential benefits are immense. Is Your Invention Eligible? The United States Patent & Trademark Office, or USPTO, outlines what is and is not eligible for patenting according to the patent statute codified in federal law. Eligible areas include a process, machine, “article of manufacture” (manufactured product), composition of matter, or “improvement of any of the above,” as well as specific designations for unique plant patents and design patents that govern the nonfunctional design and aesthetic components of a product. So, if your invention happens to be a machine or a composition of matter, is it automatically eligible for a patent? In short, no. There are additional requirements that must be met for patent eligibility. These boil down to usefulness, novelty, and non-obviousness. To have any chance of being granted a patent, the invention in question must be useful. Usefulness here can be very broad and does not only encompass crucial or definitive needs and benefits. Things like entertainment and enjoyment can also qualify as uses. Novelty refers to being sufficiently unique and new in order to deserve a patent. This can often be an issue of contention, with gray areas existing between what constitutes a slight tweak or variation upon an existing idea versus a truly novel improvement. Lastly, being non-obvious may seem quite easy, but this determination usually helps to weed out inventions that are not really inventions but obvious combinations of previously existing factors. Before delving into the patent search and filing process, it may be a good idea to seek out a qualified patent attorney or law firm to determine what the best course of action is, as a professional will better know how your invention might fare.   Picture Courtesy: Taylorip The Patent Search Now that you’ve determined your invention may be patent eligible, it’s time to hone in on the...
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Why Trademark Your Startup?

Why Trademark Your Startup?
Why Trademark Your Startup? Trademarking is very essential to new businesses, but first time entrepreneurs are not adept with the nuances of securing a trademark and often do not realize how vulnerable they are when operating a business without one. Why Trademark Your Startup? It helps protect your business identity It protects against others using the same or similar business name or logo It provides solid proof of your legally protected rights Federal trademark registration rights extend nationwide A trademark registration is an asset (it may be licensed or sold). Registering company names and domain names alone does not provide trademark protection. Must-Know IP Law (Patent, Trademark and Copyright) Beware of mimicking a famous brand; most popular iconic brands such as Coke, McDonald’s and Pepsi are protected by the Trademark Dilution Revision Act. Search Google to see if your intended trademark already exists. Reasons why your trademark may be rejected If it is likely to cause confusion, mistakes or deception with a mark already registered If it simply contains a generic name If it primarily describes or deceptive about the geographic origins of goods and services If it is primarily merely a surname If it is deemed immoral, deceptive or scandalous If it falsely suggests a connection with people, institutions, beliefs or national symbols If it uses the portrait, name or signature of any living person without the approval of the person concerned The Federal Trademark Registration Process 1. Select your trademark 2. Hire a Trademark Attorney Registering a trademark is a LEGAL process with many potential trap doors. Hence, it is advised to hire a trademark attorney to guide you through the trademark search and application process. 3. Availability Search Doing a search by yourself may prove to be disastrous. It is likely you are not familiar with what could create a conflict. A trademark search must be comprehensive and complete to rule out any potential legal conflicts. Doing an inadequate research is a major reason many trademark applications are rejected by the government. Do I Need a Lawyer to Register My Trademark? 4. Application Your attorney will draft and file your application with the USPTO (IN USA) OR THE TRADE MARKS REGISTRY (IN INDIA). If approved you will receive a trademark registration certificate and if refused, you will receive a refusal notice. 5. Monitor and Protect It is your responsibility to monitor and enforce your trademark rights. Failure to monitor can cause complete loss of trademark rights (regardless of having federal registration). COPYRIGHT ...
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How to Create a Brand Identity?

How to Create a Brand Identity?
What is Brand Identity? Definitions Business Dictionary: The visible elements of a brand (such as colors, design, logotype, name, symbol) that together identify and distinguish the brand in the consumers’ mind. Investopedia: How a business wants a brand’s name, communication style, logo and other visual elements to be perceived by consumers. Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism Model: The brand identity prism by Kapferer describes the brand through six different facets. The identity of a brand describes what makes it stand out and special, as well as the attractiveness of the brand. By the brand’s physique the physical appearance is meant. This includes a prototype of the brand: the product that represents the brand’s qualities. The brand personality connects the brand with human characteristics to differentiate. It is the way a brand speaks to its customers. Every brand tries to build a relationship with its customers. This relationship is more obvious for service brands, but product brands like Porsche and Morgan build relationships with their clients The question here is what role does the brand occupy in the relationship. It could be being a friend or being dominant. The culture of the company is reflected by the values the brand is communicating. Values can be linked for example to the origin of the company and their heritage. The reflection of a brand can be seen as the typical user of the product it is the outward mirror of the brand. It therefore often gets confused with the target market. The self-image is the way customers see themselves when using the brand and how this makes them feel. (Kapferer, 2012)     Pic Courtesy: Marketing91 What are the top 3 things that make customers loyal to a brand? Quality – Quality in business, engineering and manufacturing has a pragmatic interpretation as the non-inferiority or superiority of something; it is also defined as fitness for purpose.  Quality is a perceptual, conditional, and somewhat subjective attribute and may be understood differently by different people. Customer Service – The process of ensuring customer satisfaction with a product or service. Often, customer service takes place while performing a transaction for the customer, such as making a sale or returning an item. Customer service can take the form of an in-person interaction, a phone call, self-service systems, or by other means. Price – For many consumers, price is a very important attribute. The attribute price can indeed be more important on decision making than that of quality, brand name and others. can conclude that consumer consideration to decide product brand is mainly based on price. The main question is how consumer brand decision is effected by price fluctuations. Does consumer move to another brand as price rise? Branding Gone Bad : Pizza Hut Tries to Lose the Pizza For some bizarre reason, Pizza Hut made an attempt to rebrand in 2009 by calling themselves “The Hut.” As a result, the fast food chain received a significant amount of ridicule from the public, and had to revert back to the original name. Although the company may deny rumors regarding the name change, photographic evidence of the redesigned logo are still circulating online. When British Airways Removed the Union Jack In 1997, British Airways executive Bob Ayling stated, “Perhaps we need to lose some of our old-fashioned Britishness and take on board some of the new British traits.” The company then embarked on a project that saw the Union Jack tail fin flag being replaced with other designs. After receiving numerous complaints from customers, this decision was reversed in 2001 when Ayling was replaced by Rod Eddington, and the Union Jack was once again painted on the fleet’s tail fins. Source: Six Examples of Branding...
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Patent Protection

Patent Protection
The Idea behind Patent Protection In product markets, the problem of imitation poses a great problem for innovators who are deprived of enjoying economic profits fully. If imitators are able to move in rapidly and capture a substantial share of the market, the initial profits earned by innovators may not be sufficient to cover their costs and risks in the long run. However, a substantial delay between the time of innovation and successive entry by competitors may provide the pioneers with decent profits and make invention and innovation a more attractive activity. The patent system, by establishing a period of time during which the firm faces reduced competition, increases the expected return for innovative effort.     Product and Process Innovations: A nation by stimulating research and development can increase the prospects of product and process innovations. Governments can encourage such innovations by granting patents. Three criteria must be satisfied to obtain a patent: The invention must be new It must not have been known to the public before the inventor completed it for more than one year prior to a patent application It must be useful and must be non-obvious     Picture Courtesy: Basics What are Patents? Patents confer the exclusive right to the use of an idea for a long period (which varies between nations,say,in countries like India, it is seven to fourteen years, depending on the nature of the product) within which the innovator might be able to recover his initial investment. Another reason to grant patents is to provide for widespread disclosure of new ideas and techniques. The main objective of patent protection is to encourage research and development. Patents: Encourage research and invention Induce an inventor to disclose his discoveries instead of keeping them as a secret. Offer a reward for the expenses of developing inventions to the state at which they are commercially practicable; and Provide an inducement to invest capital in new lines of production Granting of Patents: The idea behind granting of patents thus is to benefit the society. Developing countries have to offer patent protection, the lack of which has made many foreign firms shy away from investing in core sectors like pharmaceuticals and biotechnology in these nations. As a result, people of these countries are forced to buy life saving drugs like those for cancer and have to pay ruinous prices. Once patent protection is available, there is a possibility for manufacturing most of the drugs that are being imported, eventually leading to a fall in the price levels.     One of the difficult aspects of patent law is the principle that, whether a patent is to be issued to the person who conceives the idea or who first files for a patent. Another international issue involving patents is that, countries allow firms to steal and copy protected ideas, due to lack of severe legal enforcements or lack of interest. Either way it proves detrimental to the interest of the patent holders and such violations have to be strictly prohibited. Note: THE PATENTS ACT, 1970: An Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to patents The Patent Amendment Act,2005 The Patent Rules,2003 and Amendment Rules,2006 are some of the laws that protect patents in...
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