When you come up with an idea for something, you may be wondering how you can protect it. Ideas are not tangible and thus they need their own type of protection known as intellectual property protection. In fact, most people have heard of these protections and know that when they come up with a great idea, they will likely be pursuing a patent, a trademark, or copyright. However, just because you need to protect something intangible does not mean that these three types of protection are interchangeable. In fact, they all protect very different things. A patent attorney, can help you determine what kind of protection you need and how to best protect your idea.
The Different Types of Intellectual Property Protection
As noted above, the three types of intellectual property protection are:
- A Patent
- A Trademark
- A Copyright
What are patents?
When a person invents an item and they want ownership over that invention, they will apply for a patent. This means that they have authority over how the item is manufactured, its use, and its sale. A patent lasts for 20 years after you apply for it and if someone else infringes on your patent you have the right to pursue a lawsuit against that person or entity.
What are trademarks?
When you want to trademark something, it would be for a logo, name, phrase, or word that clearly distinguishes your product from other products on the market. A trademark is great to have because when two items are very similar, it can be easy for users to get them mixed up. However, when these items are trademarked and have obvious logos that show their distinction, users can more easily choose which item they want.
What are copyrights?
When you create something like a book, music, or a poem, you will want to apply for a copyright. This type of protection helps when you have authored original works. When a copyright is in place, it is possible to sell that copyright to a third party. With this type of protection, a person has the right to reproduce their work and file a lawsuit against someone who infringes on this copyright.
When you have a piece of intellectual property that needs to be protected, you should reach out to an intellectual property attorney. They can help you file for the right type of protection.