What to Know About Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual property describes a category of intangible yet incredibly valuable assets. Intellectual property can be a story, logo, design, or business idea, to cite a few examples.
While digital tools support our ability to share ideas and concepts, they have also made stealing intellectual property easier than ever. Here’s what you need to know about intellectual property and your rights.
Register all IPLaw firms like the Dennemeyer Group specialize in intellectual property rights. These professionals can help file patents, register copyrights, and create trademarks.
These are legal documents that establish ownership of an idea, phrase, or concept.
Patents protect inventions, while copyrights protect original work, including books, music, software, and more. Trademarks set rights for images, words, sentences, or symbols that brands use in connection with the goods or services offered. The law provides protection for using a trademark, but registering one gives you more rights.
How do copyrights, patents, and trademarks protect IP?Protecting intellectual property by applying for a copyright, patent, or trademark gives you the right to take legal action if a person uses your IP.
If you apply for a copyright, people will have to ask permission before using or copying your work. There are some exceptions under fair use, but copyrights essentially protect you from unauthorized sources making money by distributing your work.
A patent can protect a product, design, or business model. As long as the patent remains valid, no one can manufacture your product or use your business model. You can license the patent to a partner or even sell it.
Trademarks are branding elements you register in connection to a specific category of products or services.
A registered trademark makes it illegal for another business or person to use these branding elements for the same category of goods or services. They prevent copycats and protect you from companies that look or sound too similar to yours and could confuse your customers.
Understanding the limitations of IP rightsIP rights have some limitations. Copyrights last your entire life, and trademarks remain valid as long as you keep using the registered IP. In contrast, patents will expire after 20 years. In most cases, you won’t be able to renew or extend the patent.
Be thorough when registering IP, especially with trademarks. For instance, you might register your business name and logo but overlook the color scheme that makes your brand recognizable.
You should also know that registering IP isn’t enough. Some unethical individuals will still use protected material, and little protection is available if somebody uses your IP in another country. You can take additional steps by controlling who has access to IP and implementing a cybersecurity strategy to prevent data theft.
Wrap upIntellectual property is a valuable asset, whether branding for your business or a unique product you invented. You can protect these assets by applying for a trademark, patent, or copyright, but you must take additional steps to keep your IP safe, including protecting your data.
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