(This content was taken from an email from Palm Beach State College)
Intellectual property (IP) is an idea of the mind that has commercial value. And just like other types of property it is an asset that needs to be protected from unauthorized use. IP can be an idea, an invention, an improvement, a piece of art.
The four ways to protect intellectual property are listed below, along with some additional resources...
PATENTS provide rights for up to 20 years for inventions in three broad categories:
- Utility patents protect useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture, and compositions of matter. Some examples: fiber optics, computer hardware, medications.
- Design patents guard the unauthorized use of new, original, and ornamental designs for articles of manufacture. The look of an athletic shoe, a bicycle helmet, the Star Wars characters are all protected by design patents.
- Plant patents are the way we protect invented or discovered, asexually reproduced plant varieties. Hybrid tea roses, Silver Queen corn, Better Boy tomatoes are all types of plant patents.
COPYRIGHTS protect works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed. The Library of Congress registers copyrights which last the life of the author plus 50 years. Gone With The Wind (the book and the film), Beatles recordings, and video games are all works that are copyrighted.
TRADE SECRETS are information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over their competitors. The formula for Coca-Cola is one of the most famous trade secrets.
The information above comes directly from The United States Patent and Trademark Office, which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and an invaluable resource, click here to learn more.
* Protecting your IP internationally has many more considerations, contact an SBDC International Business Consultant for more information.
For no-cost business workshops and consulting with Certified Business Analysts, including Growth Acceleration Consultants and PTAC Specialists, contact the SBDC at 561-862-4726 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org