Patent, Trademark, Copyright

When it comes to patent, trademark, or copyright protections, you must decide which type of avenue is necessary for your product, invention or idea. Regarding intellectual property, it is a concept or idea with inherent value. For instance, an author can protect his or her work through IP law, or an inventor has IP rights on inventions or ideas.

IP can also include the following:

  • Symbols
  • Designs
  • Processes
  • Works
  • Written Documents
  • Works of Art
  • Slogans
  • Logos

Companies can also file for IP protection, and IPs can boost the net worth of a company. Under IP law, the owner can license or manufacture a product or invention to another person or company. A business or individual who is licensing the IP with owner permission does not have to co-own the property. Further, IP law allows owners to place identifying remarks on packaging materials.

IPs receive protections from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Additionally, the United States Copyright Office is another enforcement vessel, depending on the type of IP you have. Once an IP is registered, an owner can file a lawsuit against any person or entity that uses the copyright or IP without consent.

Intellectual Property Types

Officials provide three main types of IP protections:

  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights
  • Patents

All provide exclusivity to the holder of the IP. However, the time spans of IP protections are limited. Before registering an IP, you must know the differences.

Patent Definition

A patent gives the owner legal domain over an invention or product for a certain amount of time. A patentee can sell, import and control production of the protected product.

Patent Types

Patents come in three forms:

  • Design
  • Plant
  • Utility

Utility Patent: Inventors primarily seek a utility patent. The utility version protects new inventions, matter composition, machinery, among other things. Also, authorities will grant a utility patent if an invention enhances a previous one. The main purpose of the utility patent is to prevent the manufacture or selling of the new product or invention. An inventor has no legal recourse without a utility patent. Utility patents are not eligible for renewal. In addition, patent applicants can file a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application is a less expensive and a shorter route to the patenting process, allowing the owner protected status for up to one year as the product is refined or upgraded. Moreover, a provisional patent application gives owners enough time to shop the product to manufactures or investors.

Design Patent: Design patents are reserved for original or new product designs. The design solely receives the patent as opposed to functionality. An owner may prevent the importation, sale or manufacture of the design in any form. Patent productions do not have renewal requirements and are granted protected status for 14 years from the date of the patent approval.

Plant Patent: The plant patent is held for asexually plants that are reproducible. The plants have to be new and distinct to qualify. A plant patent holder must pay maintenance fees to remain legally protected. A plant patent can last 20 years from the date of application approval.

Copyright Definition

Copyright is the right bestowed on creators to protect their works of art. Such works include:

  • Dramas
  • Literature
  • Works of Art
  • Film
  • Audio Recordings

With that, a copyright does not cover:

  • Names
  • Short-word combos
  • Slogans
  • Short Phraseology
  • Methodology
  • Facts
  • Plots
  • Brands
  • Concepts
  • Ideas

Copyright is mainly used to protect the creativity of writers, artists, designers, dramatists, musicians, architects and producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films and computer software.

The owner of a federally registered copyright has unique legal protections, including the freedom to reproduce, make derivatives, issue out copies, display the work in public, or perform the work publicly and sue infringers in federal court and prevent others from importing infringing goods.

To qualify under copyright law, the work in question must be tangible in some form.

To file a copyright, you must:

  • Send a copy of the work to the U.S. Copyright Office
  • Pay the filing fee
  • Fill out the application

Copyrights come with a 60-year protection time. Copyrights cannot be renewed or extended, and the protection lasts as long as the author lives, in addition to 70 years.

Trademark Definition

A trademark refers to a visual symbol that may include a:

  • Signature
  • Device
  • Label
  • Color Combinations

Trademarks place a distinction on any enterprise that engages in goods and services while protecting businesses and product owners.

Entities, commercial companies and individuals can protect such properties as:

  • Business names
  • Slogans
  • Brand Names
  • General Concepts and ideas

However, software, ideas or concepts with unique features can be trademarked.

To register a trademark, conduct research to make sure it is not in use. Due to legal fallout, many experts recommend consulting a lawyer throughout the process.

Trademarks give the owner exclusive use of certain imagery, taglines and phraseology, and to prevent others from using a comparable mark that would confuse consumers about who was producing the goods or services being bought.

Registered trademark confers nationwide sole rights to the mark and allows the holder to bring federal lawsuits against infringers and prevent the importation of foreign goods that display your trademark. Trademarks remain valid for 10 years from the date of the approved application. Trademark validity is eligible for extension when the 10-year term is over.

To learn more about patent, trademark and copyright protections, post your legal need on the UpCounsel marketplace. UpCounsel hires quality lawyers throughout the nation to give you the quality counseling you need. UpCounsel lawyers have graduated from Yale and Harvard Law and have worked with notable companies such as Google and Stripe.