“We work, but we have fun” is one of Jossie Arroyo’s favorite phrases. Jossie is the founder of Bien Cool. The business was born out of a need to supplement her income, and at first she just sold cards for special occasions. Fortunately, the reception to her designs and sayings led her to dedicate herself to the business full-time and it has evolved and become a full line of products, including pillows, cushions and more, which she sells in a store in Old San Juan and online.
Jossie’s expansion plans include marketing beyond the island. She is concerned, however, that beyond registering her trademark, Bien Cool, she needs to prevent theft of her creations, which combine popular sayings and phrases of her own with attractive and charming designs.
We contacted attorney Maristella Collazo, assistant director of the Intellectual Property Department at the law firm of Ferraiouli, LLC, who shared the following information with Jossie.
- In protecting intellectual property, there are four areas of registration:
- Patents, which is a federal protection for inventions.
- Business secrets, which protects the confidentiality of a business’ competitive advantages, such as prices, marketing strategies, formulas and more.
- Trademarks, which are names, colors, sounds or slogans of the business and/or its products and services, such as the brand Bien Cool.
- Copyright, which protects ideas and products such as Jossie’s and is a federal protection.
- For businesses like Bien Cool, the recommendation is to register the exclusive designs in the United States Copyright Office. This can be done on the agency’s web site. If the designs are commissioned from a third party, there should be a written contract with the supplier of the design that once it is acquired and paid for, the copyright transfers from the author to the business.
- For exports outside the United States, the recommendation by attorney Collazo is to identify a law firm or legal advisor that can provide guidance about local laws in the importing country, as these laws vary from one country to another.
In addition to protecting your brand and copyright, registry lets you license your creations later, which makes it easier to create an additional source of income.
Your ideas are valuable. Protect them! For more ideas on how to make your business more popular, keep watching this blog.
Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (Popular) has no affiliation or relationship with attorney Maristella Collazo, from the law firm Ferraiouli, LLC. This article is informational and does not represent an endorsement or guarantee of the accuracy of its contents. Neither Popular nor any of its affiliates, subsidiaries or related entities are or will be responsible for any special, direct or indirect, or incidental damages, including but not limited to loss of earnings, resulting from or related to communications, articles or advice provided by attorney Maristella Collazo and/or the law firm Ferraiouli, LLC or that may arise from information contained in this article. Popular is dedicated to providing banking services and does not provide (directly or indirectly) any type of tax, accounting, human resources, training or marketing services. In the event you require any of those services, you should consult the competent professional advisor of your preference. Popular is in no way responsible for the results of any related effort if you decide to communicate voluntarily with attorney Maristella Collazo and/or the law firm Ferraiouli, LLC.