Business owners protect their intellectual properties using patents, copyrights or trademarks. They must choose the right type of license or contract or else they face severe legal consequences. Learn about the ways that you should defend the proprietary aspects of your company.
It’s important to know when your trademark qualifies for protection. Learn more about the meaning of intellectual property and the laws that relate to your business. Intellectual properties include creative ideas that are profitable, such as books, songs, artwork, and inventions. Also included are trade secrets, which are ideas that provide advantages above competitors, and personality rights that give control of an artist’s public image.
Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights (Oh my!)
Some laws give rights to the creators and owners of intellectual property. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights offer a legal remedy against bootlegging to content creators. It’s important to know the differences between trademarks and copyrights, which many businesspeople do not know the basics of.
A patent is the exclusive usage and ownership of an invention that is granted to the inventor. The length of time that a patent exists varies from 15 to 20 years in the U.S. and other countries. Copyright, similar to a patent, gives exclusive rights to the creator of any idea or thing that is creative or intellectual. A trademark protects a logo or other distinctive design that represents the concept of an individual or business. Some trademarks are printed on product labels and included in the company’s advertising materials.
Design Patents vs Utility Patents
These two different types of patents protect different elements of your business. Utility patents are far more common, and protect the idea associated with a product or a process. A design patent protects the unique shape, look, or form of a physical product—almost like a trademark for a physical product.
If Necessary, Hire a Lawyer
You can research proprietary information for months and still miss a few, essential points. Intellectual property lawyers know more about the state and federal laws that protect the proprietary aspects of your business. They have the most up-to-date information about laws and regulations that change every year. If you don’t study the area as a profession, you will not know about all of your options.
In most cases, you can complete the filing process on your own. Some legal applications are available online to be filled out and submitted electronically. Other forms you can mail to a patent office with a payment.
Many business owners come up with creative ideas that give them advantages over their competitors. Like artists, they need ways to protect themselves legally against plagiarism. However, there are deadlines that you must meet and problems that you may encounter during the process. As a professional, do the research that is necessary to learn about intellectual property laws and rights.
If you found this helpful, feel free to schedule a free consultation to learn about more ways that your business can learn and grow!