Protecting Black Businesses: Promoting Access to Intellectual Property Protection in the Black Community


Over the past few months, we’ve seen an increased consensus on the importance of investing in black business in the black community. I believe we are all aware of the disadvantages of past institutional and structural racism that have negatively impacted the progress of people of color. So how do we close the racial gap and promote black business further? One of the most pressing considerations in establishing the proper building blocks in businesses of people of color, are establishing Intellectual Property Protection. As a community we are no stranger to the growing problem of cultural appropriation. Often members of the black community are robbed of the credit and profit of their creative ideas, investments, and hard work, as black culture has become the newest “trend” in popular society. We however will not continue to take this appropriation lightly and all hope is certainly not loss in this struggle.  We have Intellectual property rights! More importantly taking advantage of these rights are imperative to increasing productivity and profit in black businesses.

 Intellectual Property is a sector of the law that provides an individual the rights over the creations of their mind, guaranteeing the creator an exclusive right over their creations for a certain period of time.  The main sectors of Intellectual Property include Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Law.  Patent law focuses on the utility and design protection of novel inventions. Trademark law protection focuses on the establishment of a legally registered mark that identifies a manufacturer’s unique goods or services that protect them from counterfeiting and infringement. Copyright law focuses on the protection of original works such as authorship of literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical works.

One of the biggest pitfalls black creatives fall susceptible to in starting a business, inventing a product, or creating work is failure to obtain proper protection of those creations. However, this isn’t always attributed to lack of effort in the black community; lack of access to intellectual property protection often is a result of an inequitable playing field. Legal assistance often can be costly and attempting to complete the process without legal help can lead to the forfeiture of those rights simply due to mistake. How can these pitfalls be avoided you may ask? Well first and foremost becoming familiar with the applicable legal field of your work is essential. The United States Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) provides eLearning modules on all areas of intellectual property law which can help familiarize yourself with the basic concepts of the law prior to seeking legal advice. Non-profit organizations and Law School clinics are another great resource for receiving free or low-cost legal assistance.  These organizations can provide you with the preliminary work of protection eligibility as well as assist in the filing process of the application. Last but certainly not least you can tune in here monthly where I will go into detail about the fundamentals and core principles of each sector of the law. Black Businesses Matter and protection is essential so together we will make it happen!


About The Author: BriAuna Daye 

My name is BriAuna Daye I am a 24 year old from Greenville NC.  I graduated from the University of Wilmington North Carolina in 2014 with  a double major in Political science, and International studies with a focus in globalization. I also participated in several leadership roles such as serving as  the President of the Omicron Phi chapter of Alpha Kappa AIpha Soririty Inc., the Vice President of NAACP, the Chief of Staff of Student Government Association and the Founder of  both the Black Women’s Association and the Black Pre-law Association at UNCW. I currently reside in the DMV area where I am a 3rd year Law student at The Howard University School of Law. I currently do work in an Intellectual Property clinic, where I have the privilege of assisting the DC community with patenting inventions and trademarking their brands. As I currently move toward the end of my law school career I hope to capitalize on my skills as an intellectual property lawyer by practicing at a firm and utilizing those skills to provide intellectual property protection to the black community especially for small businesses. I am also in the beginning stages of creating a Crafting and Branding Business called “VolaTAIL by Daye” , where hopefully I will be able to cater to the black creative individual by building their brands through creative direction and directing them in the trademark application process. As a young black woman in law school with Bi-polar II disorder mental wellness is imperative to my health and success. I focus largely on incorporating self-care into my daily routine as I learn to cope with the frequent highs and lows of having a mental disorder.  The journey to happiness and success is by far not an easy feat but I find incorporating leisure activities that I enjoy such as crafting and reading and spending time with God truly keep me grounded.  Each day I strive to be the best version of myself and to take on life’s challenges with an optimistic attitude and an expectation of greatness.  


picture credit: Sabrena Khadija

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