Patents, Copyright, and Trademarks are critical considerations for anyone intending to market their ideas, creations, or inventions. Protection is key when moving from intangible to tangible, idea to product. Therefore, you should become well informed about your options.
First and foremost, it is important that you perform an extensive search to make sure you are not infringing on an existing invention. This could potentially create a legal nightmare for you and your company. Instead, employ the assistance of a Patent attorney to conduct this search for you. Attorneys have a vast number of resources available and the legal knowledge to advise you accordingly. Once the search is completed and your invention cleared, the next step in the process is the actual filing.
The Basics of a Patent.
Patents provide legal license granting the inventor sole right to their invention. This includes protection against anyone manufacturing, selling, or licensing their product. Currently, there are three types of Patents: design, utility, and plant.
- Design Patent references ornamental designs of a functional item. Examples of designs include but are not exclusive to furniture, jewelry, computer icons, and bottles.
- Utility Patent refers to inventions that provide a benefit and purposeful use.
- Plant Patent includes new varieties of plants.
The above-mentioned definitions are broad overviews of the three Patent types. This is to provide you with a generalized idea of which category your invention/creation may fall within. Your application for a Patent will require a complete understanding of how you want to file beforehand.
Patents applications may be submitted by the inventor or with the assistance of a Patent attorney. Although there are websites and Patent kits available for individuals to do it yourself, for the layman this can be an overwhelming legal process. A good lawyer will ensure your Patent is filed properly and completely to avoid any surprises or obstacles moving forward. They are there to provide you with legal counsel. Your success is paramount to them and a reflection of the high standards they hold within their firm.
Patents can be granted as provisional or non-provisional. Provisional Patents may be filed and awarded to the inventor early on. These provide immediate protection i.e. “Patent pending” for ideas which are not fully developed or ready to market. Provisional Patents are valid for one year from the filing date.
All of these benefits afford you time to fine tune your invention, solicit funding and beta-test your ideas without fear of piracy. When you are nearing completion and market ready (within the year), it is time to consider an application for a non-provisional Patent. Non-provisional Patents are valid for twenty years from the filing date and provide exclusive rights to the inventor.
Trademarks and Service Marks.
Trademarks (™) may represent a symbol, word, design or phrase. It is specific and identifies where the goods come from. Not to be confused with service mark (SM), which indicates the source of a service such as slogans, logos, or brand names. Most people can recall seeing a Trademark or service mark with the immediate association to a particular product.
Trademarks do not need to be registered. It would be in your best interest, however, should you want exclusive rights. Unlike Patents, registered Trademarks do not expire within a specific period of time. They can be used indefinitely.
Some requirements to preserve your Trademark are:
- Continued use with reference to a particular product
- Filling of proper documents
- The payment of fees by specific due dates.
Similarly to Patents, Trademarks require a Trademark search once again to ensure you are not encroaching on an existing ™. An experienced Patent lawyer will be well versed in this field as well.
Should you opt not to register your Trademark, there is something called “common law” rights. The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) recommends using your ™ diligently indicating you are adopting this as your common law trade or service mark or ® as an indication your trade/service mark is registered.
The Basics of Copyrights.
Copyrights protect the authors for the lifetime of an individual plus and an additional 70 years. This only pertains to a named individual. Should the author remain anonymous or use an alternative name or employ the assistance of another, protection lasts 95 years from the publish date or 120 years from creation (whichever is shorter).
Patent Lawyer USA.
Of course, there are many details to consider when you want to file for a Patent, Copyright, or Trademark. The intricacies tend to be overwhelming. Patent Lawyer USA employs a team of legal personnel from legal aids to attorneys to help you through the process. They are a global organization with testimonies citing their success on behalf of their clients.
Contact the experienced team at Patent Lawyer USA. With over 30 years of combined Patent and Trademark experience, they will be able to protect your intellectual property.