Skip to main content
Intellectual Property – The 3 Branches:Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents

When you hear the phrase intellectual property, what do you think of? How can something that exists in your mind be considered property? Are your ideas your property similar to that of your house or car?

Simply put, no, your ideas are not something you can solely own. After all, if ideas were never shared in the marketplace, where would we be? Imagine if Bill Gates had never shared his ideas about the new BASIC programming language that he and Paul Allen developed…
would Microsoft exist? How would that have impacted our world today? Let's take it back even further: what would life be like if Louis Pasteur had never shared his ideas about heat treatment, what we now call pasteurization? The sharing of ideas has brought us to where we are, good and bad.

So, what is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is those ideas fixed in a form. That is, it is NOT the idea itself but rather how it's presented. It's also the laws set up to register, manage and govern those presentation of ideas. That can be a bit hard to wrap your mind around so let's look at some examples from the three branches of intellectual property: copyrights, patents and trademarks.

Copyrights:


Copyrights can be obtained for things of an artistic nature. This includes, of course,
poetry, films, sculptures, music, fiction, etc. But can also include things that may not necessarily seem "artistic" in the general sense of the word. Copyrights can also be obtained for advertising copy, games, software programs and blueprints, to name just a few.

Patents:


Patents are protection for
inventions as well as significant improvements to already existing inventions. Inventions are mostly thought of as things like Edison's electric lamp or phonograph. There are three distinct sections within the patent realm – utility, design and plant. Utility patents protect the invention in its utilitarian sense (i.e. how it functions and how it's used) whereas design patents protect the invention in its ornamental appearance. Let's go back to Edison for an example: he obtained a utility patent for his electric lamp as well as a design patent for the look/design of the electric lamp.

Trademarks:


Trademarks can be names of products or services, logos, slogans, packaging and even
sounds and smells. In essence, a trademark can be almost anything that is used to identify a particular product or service. Registering a trademark grants the owner exclusive rights to the mark within the specified industry. Of course, it's necessary to research the mark comprehensively prior to filing to ensure that there is no possibility of infringing upon another party.

Summary


In a nutshell, those are the three branches of intellectual property. The free flowing of ideas has been and will continue to be important to our world development. Of course, protecting those representations of those ideas of yours, whatever form they take, can be just as important. Would Bill Gates be
the richest person in the world if he had not secured all of his intellectual property rights?

Let your ideas flow…but be sure to protect your intellectual property!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trademark 101: State Trademark or Federal Trademark?

Now that you know what a trademark is, what a trademark isn’t, and that you should get a trademark, let’s explore if a State trademark or Federal trademark is most appropriate for your needs.
For the USA, trademarks can be obtained either at the State level or the Federal level. So, which do you need? I’ll explain both and that’ll give you a clearer picture as where to go from here.
First and foremost, a State trademark gives you trademark protection for that specific state whereas a Federal trademark gives you trademark protection nationwide. Simple enough, yes? But, which is the right trademark for your needs?
1)Are you actively in business? 2)Are you only doing business in one city or county or just statewide?
If you answered yes to both, then exploring a State trademark is your next step. Here are some advantages to a State trademark:
·The right to expand statewide. The name will be waiting for you in other metros. ·If another mark is infringing upon yours within the state, you’ll have a…

Beware of Official-y Correspondence

Once you get that trademark filed be aware that your information is of public record, which means, unfortunately, some will mine that resource & some of those folks will send you solicitations. 
These solicitations often look very official, and "may use names that resemble the USPTO name, including, for example, one or more of the terms "United States," “U.S.,” "Trademark," "Patent," "Registration," "Office," or "Agency."  
Some will even have documents that resemble actual government documents rather than what you'd expect a company to send and this is often done by "emphasizing official government data like the USPTO application serial number, the registration number, the International Class(es), filing dates, and other information that is publicly available from USPTO records."
Most of these are asking you for money. That's your major warning flag.
"All official correspondence will be from the …

$50 Discount: Ends Wednesday, July 20th - Mention the Blog When Ordering

$50 DISCOUNT! Exclusively for you Comprehensive Research & Analysis: Federal/State Trademark & Common-Law Federal Trademark Application Order by Wednesday, July 20! 800-776-0530

So, you finally settled on the perfect name for your product or service – that's fantastic! Finding just the right name is vitally important to the success of any product line or service.
Or, perhaps, we've already searched & filed a trademark for you. If it's been a couple of years, have you had protective research conducted? Do you have a logo or a slogan or a new product/service name?
Regardless if you're new to the world of trademarks or have already gone 'round once, let's walk through a quick primer. Protecting your brand is a vital part of your overall business plan.
Trademark Step-by-Step Primer
1) Is it required that I register my trademark?
No, not at all. However, registering your trademark, specifically your Federal trademark, does provide you with several advantages:
* Pu…