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3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: September 13

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Got an idea for the next killer financial app? Following in the footsteps of successful financial software like Quicken, QuickBooks and Mint.com, Intuit (INTU) launched a program this week to find the next great personal or small business finance app.

The company has launched the Intuit Partner Platform, which starting in October will open its "application programming interfaces," or APIs on financial data, on a limited basis. The hope is that by opening these up, developers will come up with innovative financial solutions. Additional availability will open in December, the company says.

Intuit will determine which vendors can utilize its financial data service to ensure continued strong data privacy and expects the solutions to be incorporated back into its own offerings.

"We're committed to unleashing the power of many to continue creating innovative solutions that improve people's financial lives," said Brad Smith, Intuit president and CEO. "Quicken was invented at a kitchen table. Mint arose when its founder got too busy to keep up managing his own money. You never know where the next great idea will come from, but we intend to find out. By reaching out to the developer community, we can help identify and solve important customer problems."

2. How do you protect intellectual property? There is often confusion about what it means to be protected by copyright law. If you have any so-called intellectual property that needs protecting, Small Business Trends provides a good primer on your rights and how to protect your IP.

First, the article states that copyright protection isn't just for authors and artists. If your business produces architectural plans, demonstrations, marketing materials, training materials, and websites, among other things, then you likely have property that would be covered under the law.

But not everything is protected by the broad law. "Only the actual expression of an author is protected, not the underlying idea itself," the article states, meaning it does not extend to business operations or procedures, improvisational speeches, slogans, ingredient listings, among other things.

One of the most confusing issues in copyright law relates to conflicts over who is the owner.

"The owner is the person who created the work. When a person is an employee and the work is in the scope of their employment, the work is considered 'work for hire' and the owner is the company," the article says.

If a work is produced by an independent contractor, then the work is their own unless a written agreement exists indicating otherwise and the work is a contribution to a collective work; part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; translation; supplementary work; compilation; instructional text; test and answer material; or an atlas.

3. How franchises can partner with the NFL. Football season kicked off last week leading many restaurant franchises to clamor for marketing and advertising promotions with the NFL. Unfortunately, the NFL has strict rules on brand signage in stadiums, so getting in front of customers is tricky when you're not buying airtime. Several quick-service restaurant brands have developed broadcast partnerships as part of their NFL strategy, according to QSR Magazine.

QSR along with brand analysis and research firm Repucom, conducted a study showing that at least 17 restaurant brands competed for viewer attention last year through these partnerships.

Sponsoring segments of TV broadcasts could be a much more efficient way for a brand to create an association with the NFL team or league, the article says.

Wendy's ranked highest in the survey as having the best quality NFL partnership; Subway and McDonald's (MCD) rounded out the top three names.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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