How might we create an environment where online entrepreneurs can confidently produce written sales copy that is unique and doesn’t unintentionally infringe on others’ intellectual property?
According to CB Insights, 14% of businesses fail due to poor marketing while based on a study conducted by Fundera, 42% failed due to unoriginal or useless products and services.
Businesses need to constantly put out unique written content to advertise and stand out, but it’s increasingly difficult to come up with fresh ideas that other entrepreneurs haven’t already come up with.
Intellectual property infringement is a huge issue in the online entrepreneurship world, especially on social media, and entrepreneurs need a way to check what they’re creating quickly and efficiently without worry they’re stealing or using another brand’s unique messaging or trademarked or copyrighted ideas.
With the advent of AI like ChatGPT and Bard that can create on-demand copy for entrepreneurs, sounding like everyone else can literally mean a business owner can’t generate enough cash to stay in business.
While there are tools like the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Intellectual Property Tool - that just checks their database for registered trademarks and copyrights. It doesn’t scan or crawl social media to check if certain phrases or taglines are being used.
User Pain Points
Through 3 user interviews, 50 Google, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube searches, and deep dives in comments and threads of 5 Facebook Groups, I found a common thread among entrepreneurs and content creators who need to create content to market themselves and their businesses:
- “I’m worried my copy won’t be original enough and that I’ll inadvertently plagiarize someone else’s work.”
- “What if I unknowingly use a copyrighted phrase or slogan in my copy and end up facing legal action?
- “What if someone else claims that my copy infringes on their intellectual property, and I have to spend time and money defending myself?”
- 80% of users interviewed felt there was no solution for discovering if they were infringing on someone else’s intellectual property with their copy.
- The 20% who felt there was a solution thought they would either need to do extensive research themselves or spend thousands to hire a lawyer to go through all their copy. All the users interviewed did not believe a time or money-efficient solution existed.
- 89% of the social media searches revealed common language threads - “worry,” or “concern,” “accidentally,” “unintentionally,” “inadvertently” “unknowingly.”
- This data indicates customers have deeply rooted worries about how infringement can affect their business - and that it’s usually not intentional. 75% of all social media searches surveyed included language around getting hit with a lawsuit or having to spend time or money they don’t have.
The QuiteLikeU MVP will have the ability to enter in sales copy they’ve written and receive various outputs to help them determine the “uniqueness” factor of their copy.
The accelerated timeline meant a focus on two of the most important feature based on users’ pain points:
- Registered/In Registration Intellectual Property Checker: As a user, I want to be able to input my copy and see if anyone else has registered or is in the process of registering the language federally.
- Scenario: This feature would crawl the United States Patent and Trademark Office site and Gazette for trademarks and copyrights related to the language used within the copy. The tool would provide exact or close matches based on trademarks that are registered or have been applied for. Tool would also provide infringement possibility score based on filters including industry, trademark class, and other elements.
- Social Media Checker: As a user, I want to be able to input my copy and see if anyone else has registered or is in the process of registering the language federally.
- Scenario: This feature would crawl text-based content on social media apps such as but not limited to Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube and return a score of how often a phrase is used on social media.
Below is an example of a high-level user text to flow to explain how a user checks for intellectual property infringement.
Enters website > Creates username and password > click on login button > user is presented with interface with filters on top > user chooses filters based on most closely matched categories in a drop down menu - industry, trademark class, where copy is posted or will be posted. > copy and pastes copy into open text field > presses enter > receives a notification at top of page: potential matches found/not found > API pulls from USPTO database and surfaces potential matches > if matches found, list of several different kind of matches are displayed with similarity scores based on filter - exact, relative, etc > user saves matches as a note for future content > user edits copy in web app to remove or adjust > overall infringement possibility score updates
Before developing the MVP version of this product, I would need to understand the technical complexities of building a crawler that accurately scrapes both the USPTO website’s database and social media and set clear criteria for infringement possibility.
There would need to be significant development resources (or at least assuming there would be), but this is a unique project that I would love to pursue once I have an understanding of resource requirements. As an entrepreneur myself who is a copywriter who needs to write unique content for others and for myself, this web app could be added to my business model as a potential income-generating asset. I’ll be trademarking!
Monetizing this tool could include partnerships with trademark attorneys or even including further insights or capabilities in a subscription model, which could lead to monthly recurring revenue.
Product Manager Learnings:
Product ideation should include engineering as stakeholders to determine difficulty and feasibility of product development. In-depth market research is required to understand how other tools may have part of these features