So, you’ve created something new. It might be a work of art, a better mousetrap or something else. Maybe it will save the world, or maybe it will just entertain people for a couple hours. But, it’s original and, therefore, worth something, at least to you.
Congratulations! In many respects, our society is built on innovation.
The next thing you might want to do is contemplate whether to guard your work from someone who might want to steal it, copy it or otherwise use it and profit from it without your consent. You have intellectual property (IP) and it needs to be protected.
That means you need to take some action and make some decisions.
To know where to start, it’s best that we first understand some basics about IP types and how it is protected.
In the US, there are four kinds of protection available:
Patents and trademarks are processed at the US Patent and Trademark Office. There is a huge amount of information at their website: http://www.uspto.gov.
In part 2, we will discuss the initial steps in protecting your idea.
Contributed by: David Walker, SBTDC
[i] http://www.uspto.gov/patents/resources/general_info_concerning_patents.jsp#heading-2 At this link, you can find the following explanation: “The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States. What is granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention. Once a patent is issued, the patentee must enforce the patent without aid of the USPTO.”
IP and Patents – Part 1 New Inventions and Ideas: Available Protection
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