When you come up with a new invention, logo, catchphrase, slogan, etc… be sure to protect it. You don’t want other people to use your idea, and you need to have certain protections in place so you have legal recourse if a copycat takes advantage of your creation.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what type of intellectual property protection is right for you. Below are the differences between copyright, trademark, and patent, so you know what is the best for your idea, and which protection may not be a good fit.
If someone wants to know if your idea is original, they may ask “is it copyrighted?” When you share an idea with a colleague, friend, or family member, they might exclaim “You should copyright that!”. It might surprise you to know… Copyright doesn’t protect an idea, it protects work which has already been created.
Copyright law is more commonly known because it’s what protects the media we consume every day – books, movies, music, plays and more. If a song is copyrighted, it can not be recreated or used without the creator’s permission, however… The copyright does not protect the instruments used in the song, nor the song’s concept. Copyright law protects the finished work of a creator, with a “minimal degree of creativity”. If your idea has yet to be a finished product, copyright law cannot protect your idea.
The next time you are at the grocery store, and you pick up a box of cereal, look to the bottom right of the brand name. You will notice the letters “TM.” This means the brand name is trademarked. This notation lets the consumer and others know they cannot use the Cinnamon Toast Crunch logo (for example) because it belongs to General Mills.
Trademarks protect almost any intellectual property related to how your customers perceive your product or service. This could mean a color scheme, slogan, logo, or anything else a brand uses to remain recognizable.
Further, Trademarks are not related to your actual product or service. In other words, it’s not about the cereal found in the box. It’s also not about the artwork that appears on the box, nor the jingle and photos used in advertisement and promotion. Moreover, it’s not about the confidential information about what makes Cinnamon Toast Crunch unique.
You spend years building your brand from the bottom up.
When people recommend your product or services, it’s your brand they remember about you.
When you trademark a brand name, you claim it as intellectual property. This claim can add value to your brand and your business, protect your brand, and give you exclusive rights to use name, color scheme, slogan, logo, or anything else used to make your brand recognizable.
A patent protects inventions and ideas which offer a solution to a problem or a new way of doing a task. To make sure your invention, process, or product idea is protected, the best option is to patent it. With a patent, no one else can use, create, or sell your invention without your permission.
You can give this permission to anyone until your patent expires. Upon expiration, your invention is available to the public and anyone can legally use it. A patent is the only protection that protects your product AND the idea of your invention. Once you decide a patent is for you, your next step is ensure your invention meets the criteria for patentability.
There are three requirements for something to be patentable under United States patent law. It must be different from anything else previously available in the world, not be obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the invention’s particular field, and it must be useful.
What Type of Intellectual Property Protection Do You Need?
When you create a new invention, idea, logo, catch phrase, or slogan, etc… ensure it is protected and have safeguards in place to ensure that you have legal action if a copycat steals your invention, product, brand, or idea.
We understand it may be difficult to determine which sort of intellectual property protection or protections are appropriate for you and your situation
If you’re ready to patent your invention… or you’re wondering if your invention is patentable, or if you have other questions about protecting your brand, work, or other intellectual property…
I’d like to invite you to a complimentary patent strategy call.
This is where a member of my team connects with you by phone at the time of your choosing.
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While intellectual property protection might be difficult and confusing, we patiently listen to you, help you understand all your options, and then follow the best path to protect your valuable idea.