Imagine a world where intellectual property is not protected and its creators could not benefit from their original works.
It’s likely there would be no new inventions, no research studies that lead to great discoveries, no new songs from recording artists and no new movie scripts from filmmakers. Nor would there be any innovative software to run our computers and other electronics, or any original content being published online or in magazines and newspapers.
Sounds like a pretty boring world, right? But thanks to the 1883 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property that first saw the need for protecting intellectual property, inventors can protect their works both in the U.S. and internationally and realize the benefits from them.
What Is Intellectual Property?
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a global forum for all things pertaining to intellectual property and a self-funding agency of the United Nations, intellectual property is defined as:
“Creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.”
Intellectual property is protected by law to prevent others from claiming rights to it, or using it to benefit from it. However, this protection is not automatic. The creator has to apply for it, and often times, many fail to do so.
Protecting Your Creation
When looking into how to protect intellectual property, there are several strategies available depending on the type of creation.
- For a new idea, a new process, or a process providing a technical resolution to a problem occurring with an existing process, apply for a utility patent to protect your invention.
- For goods and services, including company logos and idea packaging, apply for a trademark to identify and protect them.
- For artistic and literary creative works, such as musical compositions, computer programs, paintings, novels, films, sculpture, technical drawings, integrated circuit layout designs, and other works of authorship, apply for a copyright.
- For industrial ideas and handicrafts, like jewelry designs, computer icons, furniture and functional containers, register for a design patent in the United States, or industrial design rights in other countries.
- For agricultural ideas designated from a certain geographical area, such as Vidalia onions or French champagne, apply for geographical indication protection.
- For plant breeders who discover a new variety of plant, flower, or harvesting material, apply for a plant patent in the United States, or plant breeders’ rights or plant variety rights in other countries.
- For a company’s confidential information or trade secrets pertaining to food and drink recipes and formulas, or processes, practices, designs, patterns, or instruments that can give a business an edge over its competition, utilize non-disclosure agreements and non-compete clauses.
Sorting It All Out
Once you’ve determined how to protect intellectual property, the next step is to file for the applicable protection. In the U.S., the United States Patent and Trademark Office grants patents, trademarks and geographical indications through its trademark system.
The United States Copyright Office registers original works for copyright protection, and corporate lawyers, a company’s legal department, or other legal services can develop non-disclosure and non-compete agreements.
Rely on Patent Services
If you are applying for a patent or trademark, it’s not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of requirements to comply with and a great deal of information to provide. Because of its complexity, it makes for a laborious do-it-yourself project.
A more effective and efficient solution is to use a patent service, such as Lonestar Patent Services. As one of the industry’s leading invention development and licensing companies, we know how to protect intellectual property because we specialize in it. With our expertise, your creation will receive the valuable safeguards it deserves as you ready it for market.
Before you do any more work on your idea or innovation, we urge you to get it protected. Without claiming your legal rights, your original creation can be easily stolen and replicated, sold to someone else, or even submitted for intellectual property protection by someone else.
Put the intellectual property protections to work for you. Contact us for the professional help you need in getting the right protection for your new idea or product.