Intellectual property (IP) is common among creatives. Your intellectual property can be your unique idea, invention, business logo, and creativity. Since they are unique to you, it’s normal to want to protect them.
For example, you wouldn’t like that some entrepreneur who operates in your state uses your business idea for profit. Hence, it is important to know the uses of intellectual property, so you can use it accordingly.
If you live in Ohio, contacting one of the many Ohio patent attorneys is a smart way to protect intellectual property rights. However, that’s not all that there is to IP. You should also understand what intellectual property is used for. This post will guide you through that.
Uses of intellectual property
Intellectual property is any creation, which could be in the form of inventions, designs, literary and artistic works, symbols, images, and names used in commerce. IP is wide and can be used in different forms. The following is how intellectual property is used:
Another way to use intellectual property is through patents. Patenting your intellectual property gives you exclusive rights over your invention. The invention could either be a process, design, machine, or improvement.
With these rights, you can decide who can use the invention and how. In that case, you must make technical information about the invention public. However, you should note that obtaining a patent isn’t always easy. You must meet certain requirements before you can be granted a patent.
The invention must be novel, non-obvious, and usable. Furthermore, you must defend your invention to the examination office, which can drag on. Patent processes can be complicated; some inventors hire patent attorneys for help. If approved, your patent is valid for 20 years.
You can use and protect intellectual property as copyrights. Generally, copyrights are rights creators have over their artistic and literary creations. Not all intellectual property is the same, and you must identify which pertains to you.
For example, if you have books, songs, artworks, paintings, films, advertisements, and other creative works to protect, you can protect them using copyrights. Owning the copyrights to your intellectual property means you are the only one who can grant others authorization to use your IP for work through a licensing agreement.
You can file a copyright application for your intellectual property via federal registration. Once registered, you have all exclusive rights to your intellectual property for your lifetime and an additional 70 years.
Intellectual property can also be protected in the form of a trademark. This mark distinguishes a business’s goods and services from others. It can be a name, phrase, symbol, color, or anything that identifies an enterprise.
Once you win an exclusive right to use a trademark, anyone who uses it without your permission infringes on your rights. Often, people add the “™” symbol on their mark to lay a claim on their intellectual property to prevent other people within their geography from using it.
This shows that the mark isn’t registered yet but is still valid and protected. When registered, you can add the “®” next to the symbol. You must register with the USPTO after confirming that your mark is unique and not owned by another person.
You own exclusive rights to the trademark for ten years if your application is approved. Then, you can renew it after expiration.
Industrial designs are also a type of intellectual property, which can be an aesthetic or ornamental aspect. It may have three-dimensional features, which could be the surface or the shape of the ornament, or two-dimensional features, like patterns, lines, or colors.
If you own specific industrial design rights, you can prevent others from copying, making, or selling it. Industrial designs could be packaging and containers for household and furnishing goods, electronic devices, textiles, jewelry, graphics user interface, lighting equipment, graphic symbols, and logos.
Depending on national laws, you can protect industrial designs under either design patents or copyright laws.
Intellectual property can also be in the form of geographical indications. These are geographical names or titles used on products with a specific geographical origin and probably have some qualities, characteristics, and reputation that you can attribute to that place of origin.
Often, this may include the name of the location on the product. You can prevent a third party from using the geographical indications on their products if they don’t conform to the identified standards.
However, you cannot prevent another party from using the same techniques of the set standard for the indication. You can obtain this right for agricultural products, wine, foodstuff, spirit drinks, industrial products, and handicrafts.
Intellectual property can also be used as trade secrets. These are intellectual property rights regarding confidential information that can be licensed or sold. This gives you economic advantages and benefits.
Unauthorized usage, disclosure, or acquisition of trade secrets is an unfair practice and a violation of trade secret protection. Furthermore, owners are responsible for protecting your trade secrets, which is why some companies require their employees to sign non-disclosure agreements.
You can further protect your trade secrets by controlling electrical and physical access to them and limiting access to them. In addition, you can use a trademark stamp or watermark on documents and get people to sign NDAs with people you want to share trade secrets with.
Digital assets are also a form of intellectual property. This covers proprietary software algorithms or codes and online digital content.
You can use your intellectual property for franchises. This is a license that allows you to give individuals, companies, or franchisees permission to use your trademark, process, or proprietary knowledge.
The franchisee can provide the services or sell the franchisor’s products under the company’s name. In exchange, the franchisee pays licensing fees and start-up fees to the franchisor.
You should know where your intellectual property falls under, so you can take measures to protect it. The most common ones are patents, trademarks, and copyrights. While you might be concerned about protecting your intellectual property, you should also pay attention to avoiding infringement.
Ensure you’re not infringing on another person’s intellectual property before registering yours. Also consider consulting an intellectual property lawyer as they can help to guide you through the registration process.