I am using my own created lessons and activities in school and educational centers to teach students. I am a former teacher and have a small educational business that is working with another business in order to produce growth. My business partner would like to use these items, with my involvement and build a franchise in the future selling the educational ideas and concepts to other affiliated education facilities. I am concerned that my own ideas and generated kid activities will not longer be mine. Any suggestion you can give?
Although copyright exists whenever your work is original and has been fixed in tangible medium of expression, you may still register your work to the Copyright Office to receive more statutory protections.
Talk to an IP attorney for the registration.
I am changing the Practice Area so that your question might be answered by Intellectual Property Attorneys.
The foregoing discussion does not establish an attorney-client relationship, is qualified by the limited facts presented above, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. To obtain definitive legal advice upon which one can rely necessitates retaining an attorney who is qualified in this particular area of the law.
You should consult an Intellectual Property Attorney to register the works with the Federal Copyright Office. Additionally, you should enter into Licensing Agreements for other to use the works (usually for a fee) and you to retain the copyright.
Disclaimer: Please note you should not rely upon the information provided herein as legal advice. It is for general informational purposes only. Legal advice can only come from a qualified attorney after having had an opportunity to become familiar with all of the fact specific circumstances of a particular legal matter, and then to apply or research the relevant law.
Besides copyrighting the materials, you should speak to an IP attorney who can draft the necessary agreements to protect you. Many of us work nationally and offer free initial consultations. Why not give one of us a call?
Unfortunately you will not be able to protect everything, but you can protect a good portion of your work.
The educational materials can be protected through copyright. Registration of the copyright is critical in order to gain statutory damages and attorney fees against infringers. If infringement begins prior to the effective date of registration (the date the last item of the application is received by the Copyright Office), then except in limited circumstances, statutory damages and attorney fees are not available. You would be limited to actual damages and attorney fees.
The activities themselves are not protectable. However, some of the teaching methods used in these activities may be protectable as trade secrets. Your employees as well as your franchisees should be required to sign nondisclosure and noncompetition agreements, and to safeguard this information.
Your franchise agreement, and the trademark license associated with this agreement, can be used to ensure that the materials are taught in your preferred manner.
Talk to an intellectual property attorney about the specifics of your plan so that specific protectable details can be identified, and appropriate protections put into place.
1st, register for copyrights for your work. 2nd, make sure a formal agreement, in writing, exists between you and your business partner that protects your rights. An attorney's involvement is strongly recommended. Good luck.
My disclaimer is simply that Avvo already has an adequate disclaimer.
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