What can be branded? Names of businesses, associated logos, taglines, slogans, names of products, and even product shapes, sounds, smells, and colors can be part of your brand.
As businesses grow and develop, so do their intellectual property (IP) assets. And if these businesses are engaging in proper IP management, they are filing trademark and patent applications to protect their IP. However, because of the public nature of both trademark and patent prosecutions, one may get an inkling of their competitors’ business plans if they monitor these application filings. Though not a perfect way to predict the exact nature of your competitors’ future offerings, keeping track of IP filings can be a guide to where your competitors are moving.
Do you have a website? Do you have images on your website? Do you know where those images came from? Truly, do you? If you didn’t create the images yourself or you didn’t license the images from their owner, you are probably violating copyright infringement laws. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t know; innocent infringement is still infringement!
If you are considering getting a patent, you should be familiar with the items that must be included in a patent application. Below is a detailed outline of the material you will need to prepare to patent your new invention.
When people come to talk with me about patenting their inventive idea, inevitably this question arises: “How long will it take to get a patent?” When I tell them it will probably take close to three years, their jaws drop in surprise. “Really, it’s going to take that long?!??!!?!” YEP.
An intellectual property rights owner (licensor) authorizes certain rights to another (licensee) in exchange for an agreed payment in the form of either a fee or a royalty, or some combination of both.
The legal definition of a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods and services. Most commonly we think of names and logos, but marks also include taglines, slogans, and even product shapes, sounds, smells, and colors.
A copyright protects the particular ways by which people expressed themselves. A copyright gives an owner the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute an original creative work.
In the recent Apple-Samsung case, the jury found that Samsung infringed six of Apple’s patents. While we think of Apple as having such technological superiority, three of the patents that Samsung were found to infringe were design patents. Unlike utility patents which cover any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof; design patents cover any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
Proprietary information such as customer lists and recipes are intellectual property. However they are not formally protected in the same way as are trademarks, copyrights or patents. These and other types of confidential information can only be protected if they are treated as trade secrets.
Intellectual property is a concept that is not obvious to most people; you probably have heard of it, but what is it really? Intellectual property is the result of human ingenuity and creativity and the law provides mechanisms through which creativity can be protected. Intellectual property can be broken down into three parts.
A patent is a governmentally granted monopoly that gives an inventor the exclusive right to make, use, or sell their invention for a limited time, in exchange for disclosure of that invention. There are three types of patents: design patents, plant patents, and utility patents. Generally utility patents are being referenced when you hear the word ‘patent’ and these will be the focus of the rest of this article.