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Are you a wedding planner who creates original content? If so, you may want to consider taking steps to protect your intellectual property. As a wedding planner, you are both creative and commercially minded. In particular, you may create intellectual property when you are branding your business and assisting happy couples with planning their big day. Therefore, you want to ensure your created brand and content belong to you, and you can use your intellectual property while preventing others from using it without your permission. This article will explain how wedding planners can protect their intellectual property.

Why Is Intellectual Property Protection Important?

Firstly, your intellectual property protects your ideas and creations. It can be what makes your brand distinct and noteworthy for your customers. Therefore, you want to protect these assets that bring value to your business. Protecting your intellectual property as a wedding planner is especially significant now as you are likely to share your content online and on social media. Sharing on social media is more instantaneous than ever, so it is crucial to protect your intellectual property from copycats. 

Additionally, you will likely contact a wide range of people, such as your: 

  • clients; 
  • suppliers; and 
  • contractors.

Therefore, you will need to have a recognisable brand. This will ensure that planning runs smoothly and that your business is easy to identify for future correspondence. Therefore, you should consider the following steps for protecting your intellectual property.

1. Register Important Business Trade Marks

A trade mark is concerned with anything you may use to distinguish your business from others. This could be your: 

  • business name;
  • logo;
  • signature colours;
  • smells; or 
  • sounds. 

As a wedding planner, you need to differentiate your business from others. Because the more you stand out, the more clientele will be attracted to you. Whatever makes your wedding planning service stand out from the rest is unique, and you can take steps to protect that when you register a trade mark. The rights and privileges of owning a trade mark include:

  • the ability to use and commercialise it;
  • the right to determine who can and cannot use it; and
  • legal protection.

The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) is the centre of intellectual property in New Zealand. Applications to register your trade mark can be made online on the IPONZ website. Approval depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • its uniqueness and originality;
  • whether similar/identical trade marks already exist;
  • whether customers could confuse it with an existing mark; and
  • any third party objections.

2. Register Your Designs

A design is concerned with the visual appearance of any products you may create as a wedding planner. As you will deal with many visual aspects of a wedding and its organisation, you may create something that can be a registered design. 

For example, you could create a custom invitation design or innovative wedding ornament for your client’s wedding. 

IPONZ is also in charge of design registration. They are more likely to accept your online application if the design meets a number of requirements, including it:

  • being novel/new;
  • being unique; 
  • having representations showing multiple perspectives of the design; and
  • meeting other various documentation requirements.

A registered design grants you similar intellectual property rights as other intellectual property ownership. These are:

  • the ability to use and commercialise your design;
  • the right to determine who can and cannot use your design; and
  • legal protection.

3. Use Appropriate Contractual Provisions

The previous steps involve registering important intellectual property rights to protect your brand and goods/services. When you engage with your clients, you need to make sure you detail these intellectual property rights in your corresponding contracts. That way, your clients know what:

  • intellectual property you own in the contractual relationship;
  • may qualify as infringement;
  • information they need to keep confidential; and
  • intellectual property they may gain from the relationship.

Clarifying ownership is an important issue to cover because certain circumstances can affect whether you own the intellectual property you create. Therefore, it is important to set out your expectations and negotiate the service you provide in your contract.

For instance, if a client pays you to create graphics for their invitations as part of a commission, they may own the initial copyright to those graphics. Therefore, to protect your intellectual property rights, you can amend this rule with a contractual provision.

Key Takeaways

As a wedding planner, you may create original content for your brand while planning a couple’s big day. Therefore, it is important to take steps to protect any intellectual property you may have as a wedding planner. This can be with a trade mark to safeguard your brand or with a registered design for the visual appearance of your products. If you need assistance with your intellectual property, LegalVision’s experienced IP lawyers can help. Contact them on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to protect my content on social media?

The best way to protect your intellectual property on social media is to label it and always be sure that others are crediting you if they share it on their own social media.

What can I do if someone infringes on my intellectual property rights?

If you have valid intellectual property rights and someone has overstepped them, you can communicate these rights and take legal action if you need to. It is best to speak to a lawyer in these circumstances. 

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