As business owners in Texas set out to develop a brand, advertise and increase their profits, there are legal issues that must be dealt with. One thing that is extremely important that can often sneak up on business owners is the importance of protecting intellectual property. The State Bar of Texas defines intellectual property as creations of the mind.

Patents protect such things as designs and inventions. Trademarks protect things like slogans and logos. Copyrights protect music, literature, movies, artwork, writing and often software. Trade secrets protect confidential customer lists, secret recipes or formulas and other confidential information.

According to AllBusiness, there are several things business owners can do to protect their intellectual property. First, one should always file for protection under copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and patents. This prevents anyone else from taking the company information and using it as their own.

Also, business owners should be realistic and informed about what can be protected. Just because someone had a good idea does not mean that it will become successful. The protection is in place in case the idea becomes successful, not to make it successful.

Finally, an idea should be properly developed before it is shared with the public or with others in the group. Some ideas should be kept under wraps until the final unveiling to keep them protected. It is important to determine who the market is, the best way to reach them and what kind of competition the idea or product will face before it is unveiled. If the product is exposed before it is protected, it is more likely that another entity will take the product and try to make it their own.