Websites are a normal thing to have today. Moreover, they are a normal part of any business and considered important for profit. That is why the pressure of creating a highly enticing and rewarding web design is bigger than ever. However, that is not the only stress everyone who designed a website experienced.

As a place where you will meet your audience, you want to be original and easily remembered. The content you offer is uniquely tied to you, but the overall experience is not. This makes it harder to define what the intellectual property law protects and what parts of your website you have to closely define.

So, we prepared some helpful insight into your website’s IP issues and how to avoid them.

1.   Familiarize with the intellectual property law

Intellectual property law is not so hard to understand and learn the basics, but this only makes it more complicated since not all things are covered logically. When it comes to the website, it’s especially important to know what to expect since you can’t register it as an intellectual property.

However, you can protect certain elements and aspects like videos, images, and articles. Also, the domain name is unique only to your business and you can protect it as a trademark. This also applies to a logo, color you use for it and other special details defining your brand.

2.   Things you do and don’t own

A website is the sum of many parts and it runs thanks to different software used for its creation. This makes it especially hard to figure out the ownership and IP on certain aspects of it. Furthermore, different owners may own certain parts of your website.

For example, web server platform. This software runs on your server and is used for hosting services. Even if you own your own server, this part is out of your ownership. In addition, content management system (CMS), like WordPress or Drupal, is owned by people who created it. However, you can write your own source code for CMS and by default become its owner. It is also important to state that you don’t own the database but only the data you store in it.

Nevertheless, when it comes to things you should own, they include source code, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This will require that you hire an expert to do programming and maintenance of your website. Visual design and text content are the things you want to own and protect. If you uploaded the photos you took then undoubtedly you own them, as well as any videos you make.

3.   Infringing someone else’s IP

Before you choose a domain name and invest in the marketing campaign, make sure that you didn’t infringe someone else’s IP. Do some research and check in the databases even on a global level like EUIPO or WIPO. This might take some time but will ensure that you don’t spend the resources only to be reprimanded for infringement.

This is also important for your business since you will find out if anyone used any similar idea for their domain name. Sometimes, even the slightest association with another brand can damage your market reputation.

For example, if you’re starting a surfing business in Sydney which will cover the equipment and lessons, you should use a unique name. It would be even wise to contact intellectual property lawyer Australia based office as well as on global level. This is because Australia is one of the famous surfing destinations and there are many companies offering the same service. With so much competition, you want to be separated from the rest and easily remembered.

4.   Create Terms of Use for the website

Terms of Use are something that will protect you somewhat when it comes to copying the material from your website. You can set your own rules regarding the articles, images, and videos and ask all your visitors to respect them. This is also a nice way to point out to possible violators of your Terms of Use what to expect and thus they will maybe give up.

If users can use the materials on their websites or for other purposes, make sure that you are very clear what you mean by that. For example, you can allow them to use your material only if they link back to your website and give you credit for it. Alternatively, if they use it for commercial purposes you can ask for a fee.

After all, this is your intellectual property and you have the right to choose how it’s used. But when it comes to penalties for those who steal the content, you can try to reason with them first. This is the cheaper way since suing will take time and money, and you have to be able to provide a solid proof of ownership.

5.   Make sure you can prove the data on your website

It’s normal in advertising to use data and facts to build your marketing message and strategy on. However, claiming something on your website just because it fits your campaign is considered as false advertising. If you compare your product or service to another one made by the different company, you may have to show the proof for such claims.

This type of behavior leaves you open to lawsuits and complaints by the company you compared with. Especially if you can’t prove the claims or simply made them up to boost your advertising campaign. This type of marketing is called comparative and falls under the laws governing advertising industry. Additionally, you can receive negative reputation for using this type of advertising in the first place even though the law does not forbid it.

Final thoughts

As you see, tackling the IP waters for website design can be challenging, but it’s nothing that a good lawyer and research can’t make clearer. Before investing in a campaign, know all the details, rights and duties when it comes to building a website. It will simplify your work substantially and help you protect yourself efficiently.