My Intellectual Property Post

Xarzu
New Member
6 0 0

This is my first time setting something tangible up for sell online. How do I address my concerns over intellectual property and what advice do you have for taking steps to lower the risk of someone just flat-out copying my idea?

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JoesIdeas
Shopify Expert
1305 118 339

I think every successful business / project I've done has been copied in some way.

For an ecommerce site, you will get copied at some point. It sucks but it's reality.

I think the best thing you can do is make your brand unique, niche, and awesome that people choose you over the copy cats. I've sold physical products that got copied exactly, and copy cat "brands" even stole our Instagram images from customer photos and edited out the logo (dirrrrty). 

But our brand was much stronger than the copy cats and had a social mission attached, so people felt good about choosing us even though the copy cats charged less.

I've also had plenty of instances of intellectual property stolen, plagiarism, and copying products + undercutting price. It's a fact of life in a world where a lot of people are lazy, selfish, and greedy... especially with the anonymity of the internet haha.

To lower risk:
- File for a trademark on your brand. This gives you extra protection and is a more serious infringement.

- Create a procedure to regularly search the web for your content and assets, you can use google reverse image search for images.

- When you bust people let them know intellectual property theft is a serious crime and demand they remove the content from their site / cease production, etc. Sometimes it's an honest mistake (on the business owner's part), like if they hire someone shady that just downloads anything from the internet and uses for commercial use without care for the property's owner.

- Submit complaints to Google DMCA to get the stolen property removed from Google's indexes (and I assume an SEO penalty). I've done this before it works.

 

Governments and technology platforms don't do nearly enough to help small businesses battle intellectual property theft, it's quite sad, but it's a reality there are always going to be thieves and **bleep** that don't respect basic ownership rights.

My advice (after going through the phases of rage and frustration many years ago) is to acknowledge it's a part of doing business, be vigilant about protecting your brand and your assets, but don't spend much energy on it. Use that energy to keep growing your brand and creating awesome things that give people value.

Founder of Speed Boostr (Shopify optimization experts, theme customization, custom app development).
Creator of Shopify Analyzer (first performance analysis tool for Shopify sites, free for the Shopify community).
Creator of Order Automator (auto tag orders and customers + auto fulfillment + more automations).
More apps: Theme Scientist (A/B testing), Tip Jar (add a tip button), File Optimizer (optimize CSS, JS, Liquid).
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