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Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks

Intellectual Property refers to the creations of the mind: literary and artistic works, symbols, names and images used in commerce. When talking about intellectual property you could be referring to patents, trademarks or service marks and copyrights.

Patents grant an exclusive property right to the inventor or owner, as well as the right to the owner of how it will be used or if the patented property can be used by others.

Trademarks may be a word, phrase, symbol or design that distinguishes the origin or source of the good from others. Think about Sprite and its “Things as they are” campaign. If you hear that phrase, you are very likely to think of Sprite. If your business provides a service, instead of certain products or merchandise, you will be using a service mark instead of a registered trademark.

Copyright is the legal way of referring to the rights that creators have over their literary or artistic works. Registration is not required, since copyright exists and is in effect since the work is created. However, it is recommended that you register, as it would be essential to need to file a claim for an infraction regarding your work.

There are many reasons why your intellectual property must be protected. Without protection, your intellectual property may be more vulnerable or susceptible to patent violations, forgery of trademarks and piracy of copyright. Sometimes, even if they have established security methods, small businesses often lack the resources to effectively protect their intellectual property. For more information, visit the website of the State Department.

Obtaining protection for your intellectual property can be complicated, so you should investigate and review what your options are. Likewise, it is generally recommended that you work with an experienced lawyer to facilitate your browsing through the protection process.

If you need help with how to protect your intellectual property, how to apply for patents or how to register your trademark, request your Personalized Action Plan, where we will connect you with the resources that will help you find the right tools to protect your business.