Start-ups and small companies often rely heavily on their intellectual property (IP) as they grow their businesses. An intellectual property attorney can ensure that you understand the significance of your IP at every stage of your company’s development. An attorney can tell you about copyright, trademark, and patent rights.
Copyrights protect original creations that often include writings, photos, drawings, speeches, art or musical recordings. As the creator of the work, you have the authority to dictate how the work is used, reproduced, or repurposed. A copyright gives you an exclusive right.
Although you do not have to register a copyright, it is a smart idea to register it. Your work will have to be registered if you want to pursue a lawsuit involving copyright infringement of your work.
Once you register your work, it establishes a public record that you are the creator of the work or invention. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you should be careful not use another company’s copyrighted work on your website and other business materials. Your intellectual property attorney can assist you in copyrighting and registering your work.
Trademarks are any logos, slogans, words, symbols, or graphics that are associated with a company, its goods, or services that set it apart from its competitors. A trademark is a part of your unique brand that identifies your company, products, or services to your customers. They are essentially the face of your company. Trademarks can be distinguishing features and designs, such as the famous Coca-Cola bottle. Not all marks can be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You should speak with an intellectual property attorney who can help you learn more about trademarks and their importance. You want to protect your trademarks and keep other companies from stealing your brand. Your IP attorney can create strategies to protect your trademarks and help you properly register the trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark’s Office.
A patent is a right given to an inventor by the United States government that allows the inventor to be the exclusive maker, user, or seller of the invention or product for a certain amount of time. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grant patents to inventions that hold certain criteria and fall under these patent categories:
- Utility Patents – new machines chemicals, and processes
- Design Patents – unique designs, features or appearances of manufactured objects
- Plant Patents – a creation or asexual reproduction of new plant varieties
For an invention to be given a patent, it must be new and non-obvious to a person with average understanding or ability in that particular field. When a patent is granted, it is protected for 20 years. It keeps other people from making, using, or selling your invention.
One must obtain an application and file it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent process can be lengthy and complicated. To ensure you are properly filing your patent application, you should seek out the help of an experienced intellectual property attorney.
Seek Legal Help from an Intellectual Property Attorney
Your intellectual property is a major part of your company. It is a valuable asset that not only can expand your business, but also attract investors. Do not take the significance of intellectual property lightly. Have an intellectual property attorney create an IP strategy that protects your business and your creations.