Protecting Your Intellectual Property Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights

Patent lawyers

Are you a business owner, entrepreneur, or inventor looking for ways to protect your intellectual property? If so, there are three common ways to do it: patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Without knowledge around these three federal protections you may find yourself full of questions and that is absolutely okay! That is why copyright, trademark, and patent attorneys are in business! Below are some quick facts about patent law, trademark law, and copyright law that you may want to keep in mind on your journey to protect your intellectual property:

Patents – The first patent law in the United States was enacted over 200 years ago in 1790. Put simply, a patent provides property rights relating to an invention for a limited amount of time. All patents are granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and are done so in exchange for public disclosure of the invention. Inventions must meet three criteria in order to receive patent protection: usefulness, novelty, non-obviousness.

Trademarks – A trademark differs from a patent because instead of an invention, it protects a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design. If you think you want to trademark your company logo or name then you might want to check the trademark database first to make sure no one else has already taken it. If you are in a different industry than someone who has the same trademarked company name as you then you will probably be fine, but if you are both trying to be called the exact same name selling similar products then one of you will likely be denied.

Copyrights – A copyright is the third way to protect your original intellectual property that may be in the written form like books, sheet music, art. It is different from the other two protections because a copyright technically exists as soon as one pens the art. Copyright infringement does happen from time to time and that is why copyright law exists to protect the original author. Many times copyright infringement does not ever go to court because the original author will just send a cease and desist letter to the party who shouldn’t be using the work. From there the infringing party is given a bit of time to correct the action and then all is well.

As you can see by now, the copyright, trademark, and patent law that exists to help you protect your intellectual property is often times complex and lengthy. That is just one of the reasons that hiring an attorney to represent you in these matters is highly recommended. If you are an artist, inventor, or creator then you absolutely have more to do with your time than study copyright, trademark, or patent law. Let the experts handle it so that you can save time while still protecting your extraordinary creations.

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