Legally Protect Your Massage Therapy Business: Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks

Do you know the difference between a copyright, patent, and trademark?

If not, it’s essential to understand the difference as you expand your massage therapy business:

As a business-minded massage therapist, familiarizing yourself with these terms will help you stay out of any potential legal pitfalls. 

Trademarks, patents, and copyrights are each potential aspects that you will bump into as you brand, market, and increase your revenue through new products.

Read on to learn the differences between these forms of legal protection and how to know when you need them.

man standing in front of word copyright

Copyright

Typically, a copyright protects original works of art and authorship such as novels, poems, plays, and films:

Now, how does this apply to your massage therapy business?

Well, it really depends on what you want to achieve in terms of expanding your business:

Perhaps you want to write a book about your massage modality as a secondary source of income:

This is where the copyright would come, meaning you have rights to your work and other people don’t.

Or maybe, you have a site set up for your massage therapy business:

Any original blog post that you author on the site would be automatically protected as yours. Surely, you can add a copyright notice at the bottom of the web page. But in this instance, you are secure whether you add visual copyright or not.

stamps that read patent pending

Patent

A patent is for protecting any inventions that you may create. Getting a patent will be necessary if you create the following:
 
● A new massage tool.
● A new type of massage table.
● A new skin product.
● Anything else that you invent.
 
Unless you have or are planning to invent something new, you do not need to worry about patents as much. Although it is undoubtedly essential to protect you when or if you do create a new invention.
R with circle for trademark

Trademark

Trademarks distinguish a source of goods or products you may create. These are similar to but slightly contrasted from service marks, which protect services (such as massage therapy modalities).
 
If you have a local shop and aren’t planning on expanding your business beyond your geographic region, claiming a “common law” trademark is probably sufficient:
 
A “common law” trademark is an unregistered trademark, which you can designate by placing ™ beside it. This is the same case with service marks, except you’d put ℠ beside the services that you provide. 
 
Doing so contrasts it from the ® symbol, which is granted if you register your trade or service mark with the United States Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO). 
 
Make sure that you don’t use the ® symbol unless you are registered because there are laws against unregistered trademarks benefitting from this symbol, which designates federal and state protection. 
 
If you’re planning on expanding your massage therapy products beyond your geographic area, you’re going to want to register your trademark with USPTO to ensure your protection. 
 

When Do You Need Legal Protection As a Massage Therapist?

If you’re considering the expansion of your massage therapy business, you should undoubtedly consider trademarking. You should go the extra step with USPTO if possible to ensure your legal safety. 
 
Additionally, securing a site domain name for your website or a fictitious business name does not automatically protect your brand from being commandeered by others. 
 
It is essential to be wary of the fact that website domain and business names differ from trademarks: 
 
1. Your business name is merely the entity name that you use for operating your business.
2. Your site domain name is merely the web address with which you registered through a domain registrar. 
3. A trademark can be claimed as “common law”. But to prevent someone else from seizing your business name as their own, the best path is to get federally registered through the USPTO. This is the best way to ensure that you can operate with your chosen business name, apply it to your products, and not worry about legal issues.

Protect Your Brand

Our Branding Your Business to Make Bank course at Start Massage Biz shows you the inside scoop on how to research trademarks in the US Patent Office:
 
If you want to make sure you’re doing everything right with branding and protecting your business from beginning to end, our course is crucial.
 
However, learning how to research trademarks isn’t the only thing our branding course has to offer:
 
In our Branding Your Business to Make Bank course, you will learn how to do the following:
 
● The importance of specializing in a massage modality and finding your best niche.
● Recognize your ideal customer.
● Improve your business by analyzing others in the industry.
● Achieve your business goals.
● Choose a fantastic business name.
● Check the availability of your business name.
● Create a business message, tag line and elevator pitch.
● Select the best colors for your branding.
● Design your perfect logo.
 
Sign up now to be a Beta Tester for our Branding Your Business to Make Bank course today to ensure that you’re taking all the right steps!

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