By now, you have had an opportunity to think about your invention and may have already completed your own preliminary patent search at google.com/patents. In this email, we discuss the other forms of intellectual property that could be used to protect your idea. One type of intellectual property protection might be the primary way that you protect your idea, but it is still a good idea to understand how the other areas of intellectual property law can be used to protect your idea and as you build out your product.
Core concept #3
There are four main types of intellectual property that can be utilized to protect your idea, invention, information, or work of art (i.e., intellectual property). Each type of protection provides coverage in a slightly different way. During the initial consultation, we determine which type of intellectual property might best protect your idea.
Here is a simplified way of remembering each type of protection and what it protects.
|Patents (utility and design)||. . . protect . . .||Inventions|
|Trademarks||. . . protect . . .||Brands|
|Copyrights||. . . protect . . .||Creativity|
|Trade Secrets||. . . protect . . .||Information|
Here is a chart of each type of protection and the major differences.
|Type of protection||Subject matter||Duration of protection||Registration process|
|Utility patent||Useful inventions||20 years||Yes|
|Design patent||Ornamental features||14 years||Yes|
|Copyright||Works of authorship||~100 years||Yes/No|
|Trade secret||Valuable business information||Indefinte||No|
Most products can be protected in one way or another by each of these four types of intellectual property rights. For example, a can of Coca-cola is protected by all four types of intellectual property. Coca-cola is a trademark. The formula is a trade secret. The packaging is protected by copyright. The shape of the coca-cola bottle can be protected by both (1) a design patent and (2) a trademark (i.e., trade dress).
During the initial consultation, as we discuss the invention, we are also exploring each of the other types of intellectual property. If it is possible to protect the idea with other forms of intellectual property, we discuss your other options and the pros and cons with each option.
Contact me at (949) 433-0900 to schedule your initial consultation.
1. Define the invention
2. Review of the prior art
3. Explore different ways of protecting your intellectual property
(i.e., patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret)
4. Foreign protection
6. First to file under the America Invents Act
7. Patent Process
8. Questions and answers
9. Recommended next step(s) and estimated fees