As an entrepreneur you want to make sure that you are as protected as much as you can possibly be. In the business world you’re always going to have someone that is going to try and out do you, especially if you have a successful business. Sometimes when it comes to competition all you can do is try to out perform them, but there are things you can do to legally protect your idea so that people can’t directly duplicate your idea or business.
According to IPwatchdog.com, intellectual property can be defined as creations of the mind from a conceptual stand point that are given a legal right often associated with real or personal property. The rights that are obtained by the creator are a function of statutory law. The statutes may be federal or state law, and in some circumstances both depending on the nature of the intellectual property.
Where intellectual property is something that is a creation of the mind, it is not a tangible asset, but this creation of the mind can be an extremely important asset to someone and can make a large difference in someone’s financial gain. There are three different types of intellectual property in the United States. The three different types are Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks. Per entrepreneur.com in the encyclopedia for intellectual property the three types are defined as below.
Patents – Patents protect processes, methods and inventions that are “novel”, “non-obvious” and “useful”. If the patent is issued, that allows for a 20-year timeframe to sell, use, make, or import into the US. Patent protection requires full public disclosure in detail.
- The work must be novel. It can’t be known, used, patented here or abroad, or public use or for sale in this country more than one year prior to patent application.
- The work must be non-obvious.
- The work must be useful. Must have current, significant, beneficial use as a process.
Copyrights – Copyright protection gives the holder the right to copy work, modify work, distribute, perform and display publicly. Protects the following categories.
- Literary works
- Musical works
- Dramatic works
- Pantomimes and choreographic works
- Pictorial, graphic and sculptural works
- Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
- Sound recordings
- Architectural works
- Computer programs
Trademarks – Trademarks are like a brands name. Any word(s) or symbol(s) that represents a business. This trademark distinguishes them from other competition on the market. A trademark can be registered in three ways.
- Filing a “use” application after the mark has been used.
- Filing an “intent to use” application if the mark has not yet been used.
- In some circumstances, the use of a foreign application may be needed.
Entrepreneur Staff. Intellectual Property. Entrepreneur Encyclopedia. http://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/intellectual-property
Quinn, Gene. What Is Intellectual Property? IPwatchdog.com. 19 July 2014. http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2014/07/19/what-is-intellectual- property/id=47109/