The Secret Sauce Behind Small Business

For small businesses in the digital economy, intellectual property (IP) is the secret sauce. Intellectual property is the idea behind a company’s competitive edge, whether it’s the formula to an innovative medicine, the lyrics to the next hit song, or the code behind cutting-edge software. Intellectual property protections – like copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets – give those ideas tangible value and safeguard them from theft and other unfair market practices.

Digital technology has allowed IP-intensive businesses to do more: sell more product, reach more consumers, and drive more economic growth for the benefit of all. However, digital technology and the resulting wave of e-commerce can be a double-edged sword. Businesses in the digital economy are constantly exposed to unscrupulous criminals who seek to profit at their expense.

Today, I testified before the House Committee on Small Business to emphasize the importance of strong IP protections. It is critical that businesses – and especially small businesses –understand how to protect their IP. Just as they lock their doors at night, small businesses must invest in tools to defend the ideas at the heart of their success.

I encourage small business owners to visit the IP sections of the Small Business Administration, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and U.S. Copyright Office websites for a wealth of information. Additionally, read my full testimony (and watch the video above) for helpful tips on navigating the intellectual property system. The resources these outlets offer may literally determine the future of your small business. Who knows, with a strong IP portfolio and protection strategy, you could be the next big business.

Frank Cullen is vice president of U.S. policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center.

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