Protecting Intellectual Property

Protecting Intellectual Property

Protecting Intellectual Property

Everyone has heard the tale of someone who invented something big, but never got the patent for it. These storytellers complain that they never got their due for what they feel is their intellectual property. Luckily there’s a way to protect your very best ideas.

Intellectual property (IP) is defined by the law as a unique “product of human intellect”. This can come in the form of an idea, design, or physical product. Such inventions as algorithms, song lyrics, books, images, and even techniques can all be protected as IP against use by unauthorized parties. Protecting Intellectual Property (IP) means maintaining the unique value and benefit of a company. You may want to seek the advice of a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property. Here’s what you should know about IP:

Types of Intellectual Property

There are four different types of intellectual property, as listed below.

Trade Secrets – Formulas, patterns, programs, technologies, and procedures that are valuable because they are “secrets” are known as trade secrets. For example, Coca-Cola’s recipe is a trade secret.

Trademarks – Words, phrases, or images that differentiate a business or product, and are frequently used in conjunction with a design or logo.

Copyrights – Original works of art, including drawings, paintings, films, or writing, may be automatically protected by copyright law, which forbids the use and dissemination of these artistic works by third parties.

Patents – Under federal law, some inventions and innovations may be “patented.” A patent protects innovations for a set period of time, forbidding anyone from creating, using, importing, or selling the patented object. Patents allow the original creator to turn a profit from their ideas.

A copyright is the only sort of protection that is provided automatically, not requiring you to submit an application.  A work is protected under copyright law once it has been “fixed,” that is, once it has been completed or published. Certain trade secrets are also protected without the need for federal registration if the entity takes the appropriate legal measures to safeguard the knowledge. You should, however, register your copyright with the government in order to benefit from further legislative protections. Any other sort of intellectual property is not automatically protected.

Protecting Intellectual Property

You must apply for patents and trademarks. This involves filing the correct technical applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office through your lawyer and then waiting for approval. An application may not be approved if the idea has already been patented or if it is too broad. Or, a trademarked name or logo may be too close to something that is already trademarked. Using a logo or name that is not trademarked may result in fines or litigation if it infringes existing intellectual property.

 

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