(but I’m sure it’s blissful, while it lasts)

By now, our non-lawyer readers have read at least one post that’s made them rethink some advertising campaign or marketing strategy. Right? We are creative, and although we know pretty much everything else, it’s not like we interpret legalities. (Not that we’d want to, either. It doesn’t read very well.)

Regardless of our good intentions, sometimes we do things that might not be looked so highly upon by someone with some legal knowledge (or a disgruntled competitor). Like using a name as your brand when you haven’t done any diligence on whether or not that name already exists. Or using your competitor’s brand name against them. Or heck, innocently snapping a photo of another brand’s logo or product and using that photo in a promotion. I’m sure there are many other examples I could use, but really, that’s the extent of my legal knowledge (and I wouldn’t even call it that).

My point is that most creatives aren’t lawyers. And to pretend we understand enough about intellectual property laws to safeguard our business isn’t going to hold up in court. Ignorance might be a good excuse for a business with one employee…maybe…but chances are the other side isn’t going to accept that as a legit defense.

I could make a really shameless plug here for the services my co-authors provide, but obviously their skills speak for themselves here on Duets. The goal of this post isn’t necessarily to get you to go out and hire Winthrop & Weinstine’s IP lawyers (though they come highly recommended!), but to become aware. Realize that nothing creative is ever produced in isolation—that our ideas are most likely founded on someone else’s idea, conscious or not. So, if you want to produce an advertisement, or start a brand, or create a logo, there are resources available to you to ensure you and your business are “safe”…at least when it comes to protecting your assets in court.

Apologies for the not-so-veiled plug for these guys, but protecting your assets is one of the most important aspects of any creative business (and oddly enough, it’s something we haven’t mentioned on this blog in the almost-three years we’ve been blogging). So do yourself and your business a favor and protect yourself with knowledge. Do research. Read blogs. Consult a branding agency. Consult with a lawyer. Just don’t ignore the law. It’s not worth losing your brand or business over.