Understanding Intellectual Property And What You Can Do Protect Yours

Posted on: 12 May 2016


When you are trying to protect intellectual property, defining what the property is can be difficult. Unlike physical items, intellectual property is a concept or an idea that is unique to you. Whether you have developed a new brand for your business, or you have come up with an invention, understanding how you can protect this property is important. You first have to determine if you need to copyright your work, create a trademark, or apply for a patent. You may even need to do all three in order to protect your work properly. If you have a project that you want to ensure is legally protected, you will want to sit down with an attorney to discuss your options. 

Copyright Your Intellectual Property

When you hold the copyright to a piece of work, you are the only person allowed to copy, distribute or display the work. For example, you have written a novel. While it may be clear that you are the rightful owner of the written work, a copyright protects this work. This means that if someone else tries to publish the work under their own name and you have copyrighted the work, they will be found guilty of trying to steal your work. You will likely be able to show you own the novel without a copyright, but this would streamline the process for you. 

Patent Your Intellectual Property

When you apply for a patent for your intellectual property, this means you are trying to protect a new idea, one that is useful, and not obvious. Patents protect the process, and when you are granted a patent on an idea or process, you will have the legal right to the patent for the next twenty years. It's complicated to understand what a patent is, but in general, it must be for something that isn't currently used, sold, or otherwise familiar to the masses. The application procedure can get complicated and it's useful to work with a patent attorney to get the application right. 

Creating a Trademark for Your Intellectual Property

A trademark is similar to creating a brand name and logo for your company. The name Starbucks is a trademark while the logo of a mermaid wearing a crown is a trademarked symbol that represents the company. You can apply for exclusive rights to your brand name or logo through a trademark application, and this will stand for ten years once approved. You will have to renew your application every ten years. For further assistance, contact a local intellectual property attorney, such as one from Joseph E Mueth Law Office.