Nonprofits should protect their Intellectual Property.  Why?  Because Intellectual Property is the key to protecting your business’s most important asset: your identity.

Protecting Intellectual Property is standard practice for most corporations. You never see Disney or Coca-Cola even announce a new product without trademarking, copyrighting, or patenting it first.  However, many nonprofits overlook the value of their intellectual property.   When you aren’t making money, what is the point of protecting your Intellectual Property?

A lot.  Let’s find out why.

Nonprofits:  Recognize Your Intellectual Property

The first thing nonprofits should do is realize that you have Intellectual Property. Even though you may not be selling goods or products, you have things that are uniquely yours.

Things like your name, your slogan, your logo, your fundraisers, and your research all distinguish your nonprofit from any other one on the market. 

Intellectual Property Has Value

The second important thing for nonprofits is to recognize that your Intellectual Property has value.

Your name and your logo are synonymous with your reputation in the public’s eye. Protecting your Intellectual Property gives you legal control over how your name is used. It allows every decision that your nonprofit is involved in to actually come from you and not someone else capitalizing on your hard work.

License Your IP.

If you protect your Intellectual Property, you can then license it out for others to use. This is how some nonprofits make the majority of their funding.

Think of major nonprofits like Livestrong (TM) or Race For the Cure (TM). These organizations license their name on many products – from armbands to small appliances.  Licensing generates income, brand recognition, and customer goodwill. 

Consider a Commercial Co-venture

Many household name nonprofits also work with commercial co-vendors.  Here, a portion of every purchase of the vendor’s product goes to your charity. This is called a commercial co-venture.

With a commercial co-venture, you can license your name and logo to a vendor to use in their marketing materials.  It puts your nonprofit in front of more eyes.  If you recognize, protect, and promote your Intellectual Property, you can structure a commercial co-venture to present your brand that is most favorable to you.

Don’t Miss This Opportunity

The bottom line is that nonprofits should protect their Intellectual Property.  Is it legal?  Yes.  Is it ethical?  Yes.  Should you do it?  Yes.  Read this post to find out why.

Smart nonprofits strategically license their Intellectual Property all the time.

Universities are licensing their copyright to control what happens with their logo and slogan.

When you mail in Cheerios barcodes and they mail you back a book, they are licensing that book to you.

When your local Pizza Hut or car wash donates to charity, they are licensing the name and logo of the charity they are working with.

No matter the size, your nonprofit has Intellectual Property, even if it is just your name or logo.

If you have Intellectual Property, then you need to protect it so you are prepared when someone else approaches you to get involved.

If you are ready to speak to someone about protecting your Intellectual Property, contact Concerto Law today! We have practical advice for nonprofits that can give you the boost you’ve been looking for.