Let’s play pretend for a minute.

Imagine you decided to open a brick-and-mortar store selling candles. You have a variety of candles in different sizes, shapes, scents. There are specialty candles and candles for certain occasions. Your assets also include all the display fixtures, tables, signs, point of sale equipment, and so on. 

Before selling your first candle, you would create a list of your inventory, right? And then you’d likely go to your insurance agent and present the total value of your storefront plus all its contents (ie: your assets) to make sure you’re insured properly. 

That way, in case someone breaks in and steals your goods, or there’s a fire, your insurance is in place to cover the losses. But what if you failed to document the number, type, and value of all your inventory? 

Is the insurance company going to take your word for it when you claim a loss of 591 candles, 23 display fixtures, a Square reader, and $2000 worth of signage? 

Not unless you have a detailed inventory. 

Tell me, why on earth should you operate your online business any differently? Your assets are just as valuable as a store full of physical property. Online business assets include things like your online course content, PDF downloads, website content & design, blog posts, as well as the value of your name and good reputation with your audience. 

What happens if thieves show up, or if a figurative fire (say, a cease & desist letter) threatens to burn down what you’ve built? 

How will you prove what you own? How will you value the total of your losses? And most importantly: what insurance did you have in place to protect your assets and help you recover?

As an online business owner, your insurance comes in the form of bright, shiny circle Rs and circle Cs, aka trademarks and copyrights. There are other legal protections too, of course, but these are the big guns. 

You MUST take inventory of your intellectual property. This is the most valuable asset your business has, and if you fail to protect it, it’s like leaving your candle store wide open with a sign inviting thieves and arsonists inside. 

Ready? Yes, you can do this right now! 


STEP 1: Answer these questions

  1. Which of your business names, logos, and/or slogans are you absolutely in love with, as in, you would be brokenhearted to lose?
  2. What does your audience know and recognize you for? A program, logo, name, podcast? 
  3. Which offer/program/service are you most excited about?
  4. Which offer, program, or service is making you money right now? 


STEP 2: What kind of IP is it? 

  1. Brand Identity = Trademark Eligible (for example: names, logos, taglines, hashtags)
  2. Content = Copyright Eligible (for example, blog posts, online courses, PDFs, books)

Decide which piece is most important to secure right now.

Note: my advice is always to start with the name/mark you intend to be your house brand. It’s long-lasting, not seasonal. It’s your client-facing, consumer-facing brand that you have invested in and that your audience recognizes as uniquely yours.

STEP 3: Chat with me about it

Book a Trademark consult call with me where we’ll review your current IP assets. I can talk to you about what makes the most sense to prioritize, and then we’ll draw up an action plan to make it happen. 

Please don’t wait to take care of this! I have way too many of these calls turn into impromptu therapy sessions as people burst into tears after learning that it’s already too late. 😢


June 29, 2022 — Layne Lyons Pecoff