• George

"Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks Are Intellectual Property"

If you've come up with an idea, you need to protect it ! The creative process is a commodity and there are predators that will steal your hard work if it's not protected. You have to identify the form of protection and registration you need and how to get it. "Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks are Intangible Assets", which means they are not a physical property but they generate income. They are formed by imagination and realized as inventions, artwork, literature, designs, and symbols. "Patent, Trademark, Copyright, Which Do I Need"? Understanding the differences is important and you may need more than one. If you have an invention to patent, the name of it may be trademarked and the logo on it may be trademarked. "The Differences Between Copyright, Trademark, and Patent"- A copyright protects music and artistic work, literature, computer software, songs, movies, and even architecture. It does not protect ideas, methods, or systems. You do not have to have your work published to have copyright protection.. The copyright lasts for the life of the individual applicant author plus 70 years. A trademark is a design, symbol, or phrase that distinguishes an item. There is also a device called a "Service Mark" that identifies the source of a service as opposed to the goods themselves which are trademarked. Registration is not mandatory and common law allows you to use the TM or SM but it is illegal to use the ® until it has been registered and approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The right to use the trademark has an unlimited lifespan and can be used forever. Registered marks can also be used forever but must have fees paid at regular intervals to USPTO. A patent is for machines, processes, manufactured articles, and chemical formulas. A design patent lasts 15 years and utility and plant patents last 20 years. "How Do I Get A Copyright"? "Applying For A Copyright" is done through the United States Copyright Office https://www.copyright.gov/ . A copyright actually exists at the inception of the created work and registration is NOT required...However, the work must be registered with the US Copyright Office in the event you need to file any infringement lawsuits so the $35 fee may be worth it. "Do I Need A Lawyer To File A Copyright Application"? You don't need an attorney to file your copyright, it's a fairly straight-forward website with decent instructions, but as with all government forms...read carefully ! "How Do I Get A Trademark"? "Applying For A Trademark" is done through the United States Patent and Trademark Office https://www.uspto.gov/ . Fees range from approximately $225 to $400 for each class of goods or services. The website is good and there are helpful videos BUT the application is a bit tricky. There are options to choose as you file and if you make mistakes or choose the wrong one, the corrections can can cost you additional fees. "Do I Need A Lawyer To File A Trademark Application"? The process takes months and can become complicated as you have to provide specimens of the mark used in advertising and marketing. I've done it myself but I'd advise using an attorney specializing in trademarks and patents. Don't use one of those clearing house agents that advertise "trademarks for $39.99" , it's not worth the hassle. "How Do I Get A Patent"? "Applying For A Patent" is done through the USPTO https://www.uspto.gov/ . Here's the thing, it can get complicated...the laws have changed and it's a serious game. You can do some research yourself to see if there are patents similar to yours and you can file all the applications yourself, but it's not easy and costs can run into the thousands of dollars. "Do I Need A Lawyer To File A Patent Application"? Short answer: yes. The sooner you consult an attorney, the better. He can walk you through the steps that you need to take while he files applications. A reputable patent lawyer can be found by checking with local law journals which rate lawyers. Don't use an "invention service" that offers "expert help", they're scammers ! In conclusion: do your homework, don't tell everyone your ideas until you can protect the ideas. When you use a lawyer, always use a specialist with a proven track record.

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