Intellectual theft has become more commonplace over the years. There are different ways of insuring your intellectual property. It has become increasingly harder to maintain sole right over your products but by taking certain steps, you can get to have control over the people that have access to your product and how they can use it. Product here does not refer to just a tangible item. These products include brand logos and designs, names, shapes, sounds and even certain combinations of colours. There are many ways of protecting your intellectual property but first, let us examine some of the more orthodox means.
These are granted to individuals that discover or develop new and relevant items. This includes am article of manufacture, a useful process, a machine or a composition of matter.
These are granted to individuals who develop an original and ornamental design and outlook for any article of manufacture.
These are granted ro individuals who develop or invents a new and distinct variety is asexually reproduced plants. For business orgamizations, there are four main types of intellectual property protection. These are:
These are granted to protect original works of authorship. Qualified products include literature, artistic works, music and computer software. Once you have the copyright to an item, you get to exclusive and sole rights to adapt, reproduce and distribute the work. Your work is eligible for copyright protection application from the moment it become tangible. Copyrighted works can however be eligible for attorney fees and statutory damages payment in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Therefore, I would recommend that you register your product at the US Copyright Office. This registration can be done online by three simple steps. You first complete an application, them you submit a nonrefundable $35 fee and then you complete the process by submitting a nonreturnable copy of the work under application.
The average time for processing electronically and paper filed applications is two months for those filed electronically and 5.6 months for paper submissions.The duration of a copyright varies according to different factors but most rimes, works created after January 1, 1978 have a copyright protection that will last for the entire period of the author's life and 70 years after that.However, this type of copyright cannot be renewed so 70 years after the author's death, the work becomes public property.The US Copyright office is always open for enquiries and you can visit their website for additional information.
Patents are granted to provide property rights for inventions and thus allow the patent holder to be the sole maker opand distributor of the invention.If you have a patent on an item, you exclude others from selling, producing or using the invention.A patent can be obtained by applying at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) The three main types of patents have been discussed earlier. These are the utility, plant and design patents.
Noteworthy facts about patents are:
* In order to qualify for utility patents, the invention being considered must be useful, novel and non-obvious. * A design patemrnusually lasts for 14 years while utility and plant patents have a duration of 20 years. The process of applying for patents is, however, complicated and expensive. The expenses at the end of the process usually runs into thousands of dollars nTherefore, the authority in charge (USPTO) recom!ends that you employ the services of a qualified patent agent or attorney while filing for your patwmr. You can visit the USPTO website for additional information about applying for patents.
A trademark is simply anything that differentiates the mnufafrurwrs of one brand from its competitions.This can be in the form of a symbol, a word or phrase, or a design. An example is the trademark 'swoosh' design of Nike products. Trademark rights can simply be earned by use and circulation but it is safer to register the brand mark with the USPTO. This makes it easier to fight for intellectual theft and enforce your trademark rights should an event call for it.
Before filing for the registration of your trademark, you should look through federal and state databases so you would be sure that another company is not using the same or a similar trademark. While filing for trademark rights, you must already have a graphical representation of the proposed teademrk. You should also identify the category of goods and services that the brand mark will apply to. You can apply for trademark protection online. The filing fees will be determined according to the number of classes of goods and services available and the form type. This process can be very complicated so I will advise that you retain the services of an attorney that specializes in trademark application. You can also check out the USPTO website for additional information. You can access the agency's contact information in case you want to make enquiries.
According to the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, a trade secret can be defined as "Information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to or readily ascertainable through appropriate means by other persons who might obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy".Quite simply, it is any relevant bit of business information (device, formula or process) that business keep secret in a bid to get an edge over competing brands. Examples include survey results, customer lists, computer algorithms and, in the case of Coca Cola, soda formulas. Unlike other forms of intellectual property however, trade secret cannot be protected by registration.
It is up to you to come up with the necessary protective measures that will ensure that the information remains secret. Companies use many means like post employment restrictive agreements and covenants, restricted access to the piece of information, and legal measures like nondisclosure agreements to protect their trade secrets.