Intellectual property (IP) refers to innovations of the mind, such as inventions, academic and creative works, patterns and trademarks, names and likenesses used in commerce and business. All intellectual property is protected by the various laws in force at the local, regional, national and international levels. There are laws for patents, trademarks, copyrights, service marks, trade secrets, and more.

What is a patent?

A patent is an absolute right granted for an invention, which is a product or method that generally provides a new way of doing something, or proposes a new specialized solution to a problem. To obtain a patent, the methodological information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application. The process to obtain a patent is complex. If you are interested in obtaining a patent, you must first visit this website: US Patent and Trademark Office Once you have begun to understand this process and associated laws, you can apply for a patent. However, keep in mind that this is a complex process and the best option would be to use a specialized patent attorney.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal term used to illustrate the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Copyrighted creations range from books, music, paintings, sculptures, movies, computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, technical drawings, and more. Copyright is not a complex intellectual property to apply for and most people can easily fill out a form and submit their work. Be sure to visit the Copyright Office online for everything you need to apply for a copyright, including fees, what to submit, etc .: US Copyright Office.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a sign that distinguishes between goods or services of a company and those of other companies. Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights. Trademark protection can be obtained through registration, completing a registration application through the trademark office and paying the required fees. The website is the same as the one for patents.

What is a service mark?

A service mark is a mark that distinguishes between services. Businesses use service marks to connect their services and differentiate them from other services in the same field. Service marks consist of letters, words, symbols, and other devices that help notify consumers of the origin or source of a particular service. Registration can be completed at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

What is a trade secret?

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) classifies a trade secret as: information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process that produces independent economic value. These secrets are tangible or imminent and are generally not easily known or discovered by others who could receive monetary value from their disclosure or use; and it is the center of efforts that are logical in the conditions to preserve its secret. There are two basic situations in which acquiring the use of a trade secret is illegal. If a trade secret is acquired by illegal means or by breach of trust, there is a legal basis for the claim. Trade secrets can be obtained through legal means, such as private discovery, reverse engineering, and inadvertent disclosure. The failure of the trade secret holder to take reasonable protective measures may allow this to occur. The misappropriation of trade secrets is considered a form of unfair competition. Reverse engineering is often restricted as found in computer programs.

What is the industrial design?

An industrial design right is an intellectual property right that protects the visual design of objects that are not purely functional. An industrial design consists of the creation of a model, pattern or composition of a pattern or color, or the permutation of a pattern and color in three-dimensional form that contains an aesthetic value. An industrial design can be a two-dimensional or three-dimensional prototype used to produce a product, an industrial good, or a handicraft.

What is Trade Dress?

The commercial image is a legal term of art that generally refers to the characteristics of the illustration of a product or its packaging or the design of a building that signifies the origin of the product for consumers.

What is fair use?

Fair use is any copy of copyrighted material made in part and that changes the purpose, such as commenting on, belittling, or satirizing a copyrighted work. These uses may be made without the permission of the copyright owner. Fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement.

Commentary and criticism

If you are commenting on or criticizing a copyrighted work, book review, or any valid review, fair use principles allow you to replicate some of the work to achieve your purposes.

These are the most common forms of intellectual property. If you decide that something you’ve created falls into one of the categories listed in this article, you should consider registering your work or product. Make sure what you are registering is not the same as what someone else has already registered.

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