As your small or emerging business continues to develop products, services and even written materials, it is helpful to understand some basics about intellectual property protection. Not all IP filings protect your work in the same way, so you need to be aware of the options available to you.
Small businesses are at a particular disadvantage when it comes to intellectual property protection, so it is wise to arm yourself with the tools available to you.
Three basic IP protections include:
Copyrights generally apply to original written, literary or artistic works of some substance or length (short phrases or words are not protected by copyright, for example). You do not necessarily need to register material for a copyright, as work in this category is protected under copyright law once it is published or shared. If you want to make the work available for public use, you must specifically designate it as public domain. To learn more about copyrights, visit the U.S. Copyright Office page.
Trademarks help protect your brand, including your company name, product names, slogans, taglines and more. Although you can establish some trademarks just by using and publishing them before another entity, it is a good idea to register your trademarks.
Patents help secure your original invention or idea as your property. Without patent protection, you open yourself up to risk of loss if another entity uses and markets your idea. This article highlights some of the basics of patents, as well as the different types of patents available.
If you would like to learn more about how to protect your original business ideas, names and products, contact EmergeCounsel to consult with a skilled intellectual property attorney.