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Beauty salons need to consider how to protect their intellectual property. Different aspects of your beauty salon may raise important intellectual property concerns, ranging from the nature of the services you provide to the unique visual content you post on your website. As such, a beauty salon can have different kinds of intellectual property rights, including trade mark rights or copyright. These rights will allow you to control who uses or benefits from your intellectual property. This article will explain various intellectual property considerations for your beauty salon and show you how to manage and protect your rights if needed. 

Identifying the Types of IP Your Beauty Salon May Need

When you run a beauty salon in New Zealand, you may need to protect your intellectual property. You can do this using intellectual property rights, which include:

  • patents;
  • designs;
  • trade marks; and
  • copyright.

Your intellectual property covers your original ideas that bring value to your business, so you must protect them where necessary. If another beauty salon were to copy something that makes your own business unique, they could draw away your customers and generate confusion in your market. Therefore, you need to take the time to understand what can qualify as intellectual property at your beauty salon and protect it where necessary.

Protecting Your Unique Methods and Processes

The way you run your beauty salon will be unique to you, and each member of your team will bring their own valuable skills and experience. If there is something particularly distinctive about the beauty methods you use in your salon, it may qualify as a form of intellectual property, such as a trade secret.

Trade secrets protect information that brings commercial value to your business that is not available to the general public. Often, these include things like secret recipes or other confidential processes. For instance, you may use a special recipe for your beauty salon’s natural skincare products or use a particularly distinctive massage technique unique to your salon.

You can protect these processes with contracts such as confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure clauses in your employment agreements. 

In some cases, you may create something that qualifies for a patent or design right. A patent is a type of intellectual property right that protects unique inventions. Designs, on the other hand, protect something visual, such as a:

  • shape;
  • configuration;
  • pattern; or
  • ornament.

A patent protects how something works, whereas a design protects how something looks. You need to register both of these rights with the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ), so it would be worthwhile to look into whether they apply at your beauty salon.

Registering Trade Marks For Your Brand

Other kinds of intellectual property rights protect aspects of your brand, such as trade marks. You must maintain these properly, as customers identify your beauty salon (and its products) through your branding.

In particular, a trade mark can protect identifying aspects of your business. This trade mark can include a:

  • word;
  • phrase;
  • sound;
  • smell;
  • shape;
  • logo;
  • an aspect of packaging; or 
  • a combination of these.

It allows you to distinguish your brand from others and enforce your rights against third parties. You can register your trade mark with IPONZ if it meets the requirements for registration. Registered trade marks last for an initial period of 10 years.

Trade Mark Essentials in New Zealand

Our free Trade Mark Essentials in New Zealand guide explains how to register and defend your trade mark registration.

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Knowing How Copyright Applies to Your Beauty Salon

Copyright is another intellectual property right that can protect aspects of your business. However, it works slightly differently from those mentioned above. You do not need to register copyright with IPONZ as the protection is automatic for any original work. This can include: 

  • artworks;
  • photographs;
  • literary or written content;
  • illustrations;
  • website content;
  • films; and
  • sound recordings.

Copyright generally lasts for your lifetime plus fifty years, but this varies according to the kind of work it applies to. During this time, if someone tries to copy your work, you have legal avenues available to you for stopping them. For example, copyright would likely protect any promotional photographs or videos for your beauty salon. Therefore, if someone tried to use those photographs on their website without your permission, you would have intellectual property rights to rely on.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

It is important to manage your intellectual property once you have attained it. If someone is infringing on your intellectual property, you can take steps to stop them. If you are unsure, it is best to seek legal help. You can renew your intellectual property registrations on the IPONZ website before they run out. 

Key Takeaways

Beauty salons are likely to encounter intellectual property in the course of business. There are several intellectual property rights to consider. Trade secrets, patents, designs, trade marks, and copyright could all be relevant to your beauty salon business. 

If you need help with your beauty salon’s intellectual property, our experienced intellectual property lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a registered design protect?

A design registration protects the visual representation of a product.

What does a trade mark protect?

A trade mark protects your business’ brand, such as your business name and logo.

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