Anything created by a person, including intangible concepts and ideas, can be legally protected from theft and reproduction without permission through intellectual property rights laws. To get this protection, you will need to get comprehensive intellectual property services from attorneys specializing in intellectual property cases.
What comprises intellectual properties? A unique concept, idea, artwork, inventions, literary work, symbols, and creative designs are considered intellectual property. A law can legally protect these properties from those who might steal or use them without permission for profitable gains.
There are four types of intellectual property rights:
Ideally, copyrights take effect the moment you create an artwork, a poem, or literary writing. No one should use your original work without your permission, especially for profit.
However, if you feel that someone will use your original work for personal gains and want to take it up in court if it happens, applying for legal copyright is the best course of action.
This type of intellectual property protection is usually for intangible works such as the authorship of a book, document, research, music, video, and designs. Obtaining copyright is a voluntary act, and you should do it if you feel you need to protect your original ideas.
A patent is legal protection for new inventions in the field of technology, a useful piece of machinery, or a production process that you created. It is also applicable for a new species of plant or any useful upgrade to an existing invention.
Patents can also be granted to new inventions on kitchen and household equipment, a commercial compound, or a process.
A patent prevents others from reproducing or selling your invention without your knowledge and permission. Under the patent, others cannot sell, commercially reproduce, distribute, or import/export the item without the owner’s approval.
When you apply for a patent, you cannot keep the details of your invention a secret. Applying for a patent requires full disclosure of the details of the patent and then the information will be made public. A patent can only be valid for several years, but owners have an option to have it reinstated.
A trademark, also called a service mark, is a symbol, logo, word, phrase, that is unique to a brand, product, or service. A trademark is used to make something distinguishable exclusively to a brand or a company.
As an example, the fast-food chain KFC had a trademark for the image of its brand ambassador Colonel Sanders and for the phrase, “It’s finger-lickin’ good.” Their logo, brand ambassador image, and slogan are protected by trademark rights and cannot be used by any other individual or business. If you want to register for a trademark you can do that by sending an application to USPTO or the state office. The difference is that the state office issues state trademarks and USPTO is in charge of federal trademarks. If you are applying for a state trademark it would be a good idea to hire an attorney that knows the law of that particular state well. For example, if you are located in OC, Cali, you should definitely find an Orange County trademark attorney.
Trademarks are intellectual properties that have no definite expiration. Once applied, it can be used indefinitely as long as the owners and businesses are active.
A trade secret is a piece of unique information that gives a company a competitive advantage. It is a type of intellectual property that can be sold or licensed, that is why it is heavily guarded information. Anyone who has a hold of it can make a significant profit. That is why it needs to be legally protected in several layers.
A trade secret is a commercially valuable information known only to a limited number of individuals. These people are usually bound to secrecy by confidentiality agreements.
Trade secrets protection should be done internally and externally. Vital company assets can be stolen through external hectares such as hacking. However, according to the U.S. courts, the majority of the breach is from business partners or former employees.
Protecting trade secrets is a combination of getting effective legal support, implementing cutting-edge electronic security, and risk management.
Why you need intellectual property protection
Securing your Intellectual property rights ensures higher profitability for your hard-earned work. This means that if you have an idea or invention that is likely to sell and benefit a lot of people, you are preventing others from stealing it or riding on your idea to earn for themselves.
In business, the unique model, marketing idea, or secret recipe is their most protected asset. It needs legal protection that you can only get from experienced intellectual property attorneys.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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