Nail Shop Tea Recap: Intellectual Property with Legal Expert Christine-Marie Lauture
(authorship credit: Panel hosted & moderated by Gracie J, article written by Gracie J)
Welcome to the Nail Shop Tea discussion recap. Nail Shop Tea is a virtual destination curated by The Editorial Nail to bring the nail shop experience to the digital space. We’ve all missed engaging with all our clients, the laughter, the community building as well as the exchange of knowledge. So, this space was only fitting.
My name is Gracie J, I’ll be your nail artist today and my goal is for all of us to become better business-savvy entrepreneurs. Earlier last week on #ManiMonday I hosted and moderated a room (Powered by OPI) titled “Protect Yo Sh*t: Intellectual Property for the Creative”. It’s the community outreach for me! I had the pleasure of speaking with award-winning legal expert Christine-Marie Lauture and let me tell you! She put us on SO MUCH game! Although we are nail techs/artists by trade, overall, we are creatives!
To be a creative in any industry means to be in a constant cycle of moving parts that shift and change simultaneously. Even when those changes are inconvenient, we evolve and learn to coexist.
If you’re familiar with my informative rants on IG, I always stress to PROTECT YOUR WORK! But oftentimes being so passionate, we’re wide-eyed with open hearts and want to share our content with everyone. Inviting the wrong people into your process can backfire and become detrimental to your brand and reputation.
Here are a few tips we covered with Christine about protecting your business/art IRL and in the digital space:
Always make sure your work is protected where it applies.
Intellectual Property is a specific category of property rights. The types of property rights include: Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, and Trade Secrets.
The different types of registrations you use to protect your IP have different functions.
A trademark functions as a source identifier. It’s essentially a sign that distinguishes your goods from a business, such as a name, logo, and slogan.
A copyright covers the creative expression of any type of work in a tangible form i.e., a film, video, website, photo.
A patent covers the invention of a product and its exclusive rights.
Trade secrets are confidential information that can potentially be sold or licensed to those outside of the confidential network.
What happens when someone (individual or brand) violates your rights?
It may be time to send a cease and desist letter. A cease and desist letter acts as a first step before bringing in an infringement lawsuit to an individual or company. It’s a warning that basically tells the recipient “Pause sis, you’re walking a fine line” in legal terms of course.
This can get a little messy when working with friends, let alone brands. Business is business so having the proper paperwork to prevent future kinks and establishing terms of the agreement is imperative.
Some common types of agreements include: NDA (non-disclosure agreement), Work For Hire, Copyright Assignment, and Collaboration Agreement.
An NDA basically tells your counterpart(s), you cannot spill the beans to anyone outside of the agreement.
A Work for hire states that you (the employer) own the rights to whatever is being produced.
A Copyright assignment is a written agreement (via any logo and graphic designer you enlist the service of) that transfers ownership of the works to you.
A Collaboration Agreement states co-authorship of those involved in the creation of the final product.
Fun fact! Did you know that IP attorneys offer watch services?! Watch services are to keep track of your registered trademark. They basically monitor all other Trademark applications that are similar to your mark, logo, service, etc.
A quick and simple way you can protect your work is by watermarking all your photos with your registered logo.
Some individuals will go out of their way to photoshop out our watermarks from images. It’s rough out here in social media land. Another way you can protect your images is by registering them in groups. You can register up to 750 in one application.
At this point, you’re probably wondering, well which type of registration works best for me?
Christine says: “All four types of intellectual property can apply, but the first and most important is having your trademark. You can't protect something you don't own. Having a trademark for your business or brand is crucial. If you have a specific name or design for your product and logo, it needs a trademark and/or copyright protection.”
It’s always best to invest in retaining an IP attorney from the jump so you can get a sense of what you need in order to develop your business. As mini-preneurs, side funds aren’t always readily available, so consultations, one-off contract reviews, and drafting may be financially feasible until you’re ready to be all in. I can tell you from personal experience that having an attorney that has your back is extremely beneficial. It hits different.
Christine's final tip is, when seeking the services of any attorney, make sure you’re doing your research. Find someone that specializes in not only what you need but also the areas you work in. To be quite honest I’m not immune to the stressful things we can encounter, but the best we can do is learn from our mistakes and share the resources we’ve acquired through our personal experience.
You can also check out diversrepresentation.com which is a platform that caters to those seeking diverse representation.
I hope you’ve found this piece super useful! Go forth and prosper! I look forward to seeing you on the next Nail Shop Tea discussion.
Gracie J aka The Editorial Nail
P.S. I’m a paid published writer ya’ll. Your nieces and nephew; Mittens, Frizzo, and Jack are really proud!
Gracie J is a celebrity nail stylist, traditionally trained nail tech, and self-taught artist who is most noted for her work as former Lead Nail Stylist for TNT’s critically-acclaimed television series “CLAWS”. She boasts celebrity clientele like Issa Rae, PoseFX’ Angelica Ross, Young MA, Dascha Polanco, and Phylicia Rashaad.
Her work has been featured in Glamour, NYLON, Paper, Coveteur, ESSENCE, and more, and she has attracted the attention of leading beauty brands like SavageXFenty and for brand partnerships. She was recently featured in Zerina Akers’ Black Owned Everything, one of PureWow’s #PureWow100 change-makers and influencers as well as #iOneCreativeClass of 2019 creative entrepreneurs.
Gracie J is an NYC native with an audience that spans across the globe. Her work has inspired millions of fans worldwide and has been replicated by some of the top nail art communities on social media. With her annual and viral Nails At First Sight series last featured on Good Morning America, she uses her medium to educate her audience about icons and pivotal moments within Black History. She was a featured talent during Beautycon and guest speaker for Essence Beauty Carnival and has creatively directed shoots for Dascha Polanco x Blink beauty as well as Madamenoire.
As a Creative Director, Gracie has collaborated with brands like Nickelodeon, FentySkin, MCM x Puma, KISS Products, and GstarRaw. Gracie bridges the gap between creative and talent, curating conversation-worthy nail designs for her clients and audience.
Congratulations to winners of Gracie J’s giveaway! @_tiaracarver, @manixdoni, and @ae_nailstudio won a stellar prize packaging including an OPI LG LED Lamp, OPI GelColor Stay Strong Base Coat, OPI GelColor Stay Shiny Top Coat, OPI GelColor High Definition Glitter Collection, OPI Nail Lacquer Remover, OPI Expert Touch Removal Wraps, File pack, and OPI NAS 99.
How are you protecting your intellectual property rights? Send us a DM @OPI_Professionals on Instagram to let us know how you manage being a creative in an ever-changing industry! Be sure to subscribe to our OPI Professionals YouTube Channel for more insider info and nail tips from more OPI Pros.