31: Intellectual Property Protection Basics For Small Businesses With Matt Johnston

Matt Johnston is a lawyer and expert in intellectual property law for business. He joins Nana this week on Build Value By Choice to tell you the differences between the types of intellectual property, what they cover, and how you can apply for them. This is really needed information for every small business owner that could save you from disaster. 


Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.
There are four main types of intellectual property, these are Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, and Trade Secrets. You can look at this as Knowhow, Messaging, Innovation, and Reputation. 
A patent is a right granted to an inventor by the federal government that permits the inventor to exclude others from making, selling or using the invention for a period of time. The patent system is designed to encourage inventions that are unique and useful to society.
A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services. It’s how customers recognize you in the marketplace and distinguish you from your competitors. The word “trademark” can refer to both trademarks and service marks.
A copyright is around the expression of an idea. Many types of works are eligible for copyright protection, for example: Audiovisual works, such as TV shows, movies, and online videos. Sound recordings and musical compositions. Written works, such as lectures, articles, books, and musical compositions.
A trade secret could be something like a recipe. It provides an economic or competitive advantage to its owner because the information is not generally known to or available through proper means by another person who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use. Is subject to reasonable efforts by its owner to maintain its secrecy.



‘About 70 to 80% of any business is intellectual property’ 

‘Understand what can be protected, and what can’t be protected’ 

‘Because they made it public, they were ineligible for a patent’ 






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Matt Johnston (#Mattthelawyer) is a Frederick, MD-based attorney whose practice focuses on serving small businesses with their needs using a variety of services geared to a small business budget. Matt helps clients solve business and legal problems with practical, actionable, and understandable legal advice. Matt and his team also help clients protect their brands and intellectual property through trademark and copyright services. Matt is also a part-owner of a music production company but doesn’t play an instrument. When not lawyering, Matt can be found playing, watching, refereeing, screaming, arguing, or occasionally crying about soccer.



Hosted by Nana Bonsu of Infinite Horizons, this show aims to serve small business owners who want to grow their businesses while reducing their own personal involvement. We do this through a combination of interviews with industry leaders, and host presentations. We are certified value builder advisors and leverage a statistically proven methodology to help clients such as you scale or transition their business to the next chapter. 

We care for our listeners and see their dreams as our own. We aim to foster a community that embraces freedom, generosity, and integrity. This is a show by entrepreneurs and business owners for entrepreneurs and business owners. 



Nana Bonsu:

“I am an entrepreneur and ex-Corporate Executive who’s applying his experience and knowledge from working in various ways to pursue my passion of helping small business owners increase their choices in life by leveraging my knowledge and experience, their employees, systems and money. I help small business owners transform their business and increase value through action-oriented education and implementation of strategies and tactics to make their business sellable even if they are not planning on selling. Known for establishing an environment for personal growth and development. My multicultural background equips me with the intuitive understanding of different cultures and how they impact business owners.”


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