Blog Post
August 6, 2023

Take Care of Your Chicken

“Take care of y’all bodies…take care of y’all chicken…take care of y’all mentals.”

-Marshawn Lynch, Former NFL RB/IP Genius


One of the biggest aspects of my jobs as an attorney and brand strategist is helping my clients mitigate and, whenever possible, avoid risk. Whether you’re Apple, Coca-Cola, or a local beauty supply store, risk is inherent to running a business. For some, it may be supply chain management or logistics, for many it’s labor issues and for everyone it’s protecting your intellectual property.


Intellectual Property (“IP”) refers to creations such as inventions, designs, written, artistic or musical works, and other related items. Applying for a trademark with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office(“USPTO”) or registering your creative work with the U.S. Copyright Office can provide protection for a myriad of things including songs, logos, inventions, recipes, and formulas. There’s a common misconception that merely creating and posting your idea or work of art affords protection. Yes, you own the original content you post on Twitter. However, you also grant the platform the right to use your work, making protection extremely difficult.


“By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods now known or later developed (for clarity, these rights include, for example, curating, transforming, and translating).”


Social media platforms are not the only entities that can and will use your work. For instance, let’s say you come up with a great idea, creative work, or product and share it on the timeline, newsfeed, or whatever they call it on TikTok. Your post gains traction and a few hundred or thousand likes, shares and retweets later, congratulations you’re a viral sensation. Now what? Well, what usually follows is that if it’s a bankable idea, someone will appropriate(steal) it to make said bank. You notice the thievery and argue that it’s your idea and that your social media handle was on the tweet/post with the ideas that were pilfered, pirated and profited on. Unfortunately, if you didn’t seek intellectual property protection for this idea or have the timeline sign anon-disclosure agreement as they shared, liked and retweeted your idea or work(which for the record is nonsensical and implausible), you’re likely out of luck.


Even if you had the wherewithal to seek a Poor Man’sCopyright, you’re still up a creek without a paddle. A Poor Man's Copyright isa method of using registered dating by the postal service, a notary public orother highly trusted source to date intellectual property, thereby helping toestablish that the material has been in one's possession since a particulartime. However, ownership alone will not protect you. For instance, if youplayed an unreleased, unprotected version of an original musical composition onsocial media, which is subsequently used by a famous producer for a song, whomakes a lot of money from it, you could send them a cease and desist, or file alawsuit, to legally prevent them from using the track. There is a good chanceyou would win. However, what you would not win are damages, which in this casecould include a portion of the money made from the song. That is because only aformal registration can entitle you to damages.


What’s the solution? Don’t put out what you aren’t willing to risk have co-opted, misappropriated and scavenged. If you love the idea, product, or service enough to share it with the world, protect it from the world. Working on a beautiful design for some new artwork, get that copyright. New design or improvement upon an old one, seek a patent. Got a great idea fort-shirts, hoodies and other apparel, get a trademark. Created a fried chicken recipe better than the Colonel’s secret blend of 11 herbs and spices, seek Trade Secret protection. In the words of Marshawn Lynch, “Take care of y’all chicken.”


Yes, it can be a bit costly up front but, in the end, the protection is worth it. Also, a good attorney will not only be able to help you apply for protection but offer guidance on how align it with your company’s overall strategy. Of course, if you need help with any of this, the intellectual property, branding and legal experts at Diplomatic Enterprises are more than willing and able to help you. The consultation is free and we’re always willing to help. Good luck!

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