If and when you start a new business, you’re creating something from scratch. If you’ve created it from scratch, it means you’ll probably have to protect it from being replicated, or misrepresented, by others looking to cash in on your idea. Generally, what this means is you have to protect your intellectual property from others. The ideas, and the products, you create – are forms of intellectual property.
This article is by Todd Spodek, a top rated NYC business lawyer.
IP is a legal term which refers to the “creations of the mind,” for which rights are recognized. Under intellectual property law, owners are given exclusive rights to a variety of intangible and tangible assets, such as words, symbols, designs.
Examples of intellectual property are:
There are a few types of intellectual property, such as: trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.
Trademarks are a recognizable sign, or design, which specifically identifies a product or service from a specific source. Trademark owners can be individuals, businesses, or any other legal entity(non-profits). Trademarks are allowed to be placed on things like packages, products, labels, or any other marketing collateral.
Brand Name: Dell Computers
Logo: Apple’s Apple
Slogan: We Care.
Filing for a trademark gives you rights, that prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark that could confuse your target audience. Trademarks do not stop others from making the same product, or selling the same product/service under a different trademark. In other words, what a trademark does is protect your individual identity. If you are Apple.com, no one else can claim to be Apple.com
Copyrights are a form of protection which is provided to authors who create original works. An original work can be something like a musical, a piece of literature, or anything else which is intellectual – regardless of whether it’s published or remains unpublished. Copyright gives the copyright holder the right to get credit for work. In addition, the copyright owner can assign rights to adapt the work to other forms – and in addition, who can financially benefit from the work. If you have copyright protection, then the copyrights to the original product can be sold, or leased, to other companies and individuals.
Copyrights give the creator exclusive rights to the material for a set period of time. Any form of usage, or monetization, of the product is given exclusively to the owner of the copyright.
Patents are a set of rights, given exclusively to the inventor, or the inventors assignee for a period of time. This period of time is typically limited (20 years). In exchange for being given exclusivity, the owner of the patent gives full public disclosure. An invention, is an example of something that can be given a patent for.
An example of things which are patentable are: machinery, chemicals, a process, or any other device.
Patents give you the right to ensure others don’t make, sell, or offer for sale, your patented invention.
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