Posted on: 2 November 2017Share
If you have come up with some type of idea, such as a literary work or an invention, you need to protect it, so it can't be stolen by some large company who benefits off your idea and doesn't compensate you. This type of protection is known as intellectual property protection, and there are many types to consider. Check out these three common types of intellectual property protection to see if you need it or already have some protection.
A copyright is a type of protection that is used to protect "original works of authorship." However, these don't only include written pieces like books or poems. Typically, copyrights cover most forms of art, such as music, photography, paintings, choreographic work, etc. With a copyright, you are the only one who can use or modify the piece. For example, if you write a poem, a greeting card company can't use it without your permission. The only main rule, however, is that the work must be tangible. It can't be a story concept, but it can be a completed story.
One of the advantages of copyrights is that your work has the copyright the moment it comes into existence. You don't need to register your painting for it to be protected. You can register your work with the US Copyright Office for a fee. The advantage to doing this is that you may be able to sue for monetary compensation if someone does use your work without your permission.
If you have invented something new, such as a new type of duster, then you wouldn't need a copyright. You would want to pursue a patent. If you invent something and start advertising it without a patent, there is nothing stopping other, more experienced businesses to start creating your invention. If they choose to then patent it, you can be prohibited from making it yourself. A patent prevents this. Unfortunately, unlike a copyright, you must actually file an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
There are three different types of patents: utility patents, design patents and plant patents. Whichever you choose, however, it takes time to prove your invention is your own and get your patent. Therefore, the US Patent and Trademark Office also offers provisional patents. These are temporary patents that protect others from patenting your invention while you get your patent.
A trademark is often confused with a copyright because it doesn't protect an actual invention. However, while a copyright typically protects a work of art, a trademark is commonly used by businesses to protect their brand. Like a patent, you must register your trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office, and you'll need a clear representation of the mark to apply for he trademark.
Most commonly, business use trademarks to protect their logo. Those famous big-named businesses with iconic logos have trademark protection, which is why other companies can't use their logos. If you created a logo for your business but didn't trademark it, someone else could use it too. Trademarks can also protect a word, phrase or symbol that are heavily associated with the business.
If you have created a work of authorship, you should have some protection, but if you want more protection or if you need a patent or trademark, you need to take action. Understanding intellectual property protection can be confusing, so don't try to go it alone. if you need more information regarding how to protect your intellectual property, or if you are ready to file an application for a copyright, patent or trademark, contact an attorney, like one from Lingbeck Law Office, in your area today.