Advertising is one of the most important parts of growing a North Carolina business. Advertising tells the public that you exist, you have a product or service that they want, and why customers should use you. There are a few things to keep in mind before creating that commercial. Good advertising is legal advertising. The last things your growing North Carolina business needs are stolen ideas and lawsuits because you didn’t know what to do and what not to do with your advertising. Here are a few tips to keep your business out of trouble when you advertise:
Identify and Protect Your Intellectual Property
What is intellectual property? Intellectual property refers to the intangibles; the patents, copyrights, trade secrets and publicity rights of your company. Before you advertise them, make sure your logos and brands, as well as your trade secrets are protected. Register your trademarks with your state and the federal government, patent your inventions, register your copyrights, and protect your trade secrets with employment and non-disclosing agreements. This will allow them to belong to you in the event that someone else tries to use them or even something too similar.
Avoid Using the Intellectual Property of a Third Party
Be gentle when comparing your product to another. It may seem like a great idea at first, especially if you believe you have the better product or service, but this tends to walk the line of intellectual property infringement. Just as you’ve protected your intellectual property, so have others and they can legally sue you. If you cross over that line you may not like the consequences. Avoid using ANY or ALL of the intellectual property of other companies.
Tell the Truth
In other words, don’t mislead the public. If you advertise falsely you could be sued by consumers, competitors and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC pays special attention to claims involving the health and safety of the public. If you deceive the public it could cost your North Carolina business millions of dollars and your reputation. What you communicate to the public matters, your messages should be truthful. Do not exaggerate the claims you state about your products and services.
If you have any questions about what’s legal within your advertising, contact a North Carolina business attorney. The corporate lawyers at Fisher Stark, P.A. can answer your advertising questions and help you avoid putting your business at risk. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so give us a call, 828.505.4300.
Last updated 7/5/2015