What is Intellectual Property (IP)? Intellectual property is a product of human intellect. It’s what differentiates you from the competition –original ideas or concepts conceived and developed by you. Examples of IP include inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, and company identification marks.
Since IP has a value and it belongs to you, you want to protect it. The United States government has created laws that ensure no one steals or uses your IP without your permission. These IP laws provide specific rights to the person or entity that creates an original work. They are limited in scope, geographical extent, and duration; however, they enable you to earn recognition or financial benefits. They also foster an environment of innovation and creativity.
There are four types of protection for Intellectual Property:
- A trademark protects the names and identifying marks of products and companies. Trademarks make it easy for consumers to distinguish brands, such as the apple logo identifying Apple products. The TM symbol indicates that the trademark protection has been claimed and is registered.
- A copyright protects expressive arts, such as works of authorship (books, movies, and drawings). Copyright does not protect the idea, but how the idea is expressed.
- A patent protects an invention from being manufactured or sold by others for a specific period of time. There are three different types of patents in the United States.
Utility – protect inventions of a specific function, such as a chemical, machine or technology.
Design – protects the unique way a manufactured object appears.
Plant – provides protection for hybrid plant varieties (flora or fauna).
- Trade secret protection is given to special formulas, programs or techniques. Examples would include Coke’s drink formulation or Mrs. Fields’ chocolate chip cookie recipe.Intellectual Property is an asset to your business and contributes to your success. The professionals at Ference have worked in IP law for decades and helped companies whether just starting out or leading the way in global technology, to protect their intellectual property portfolio. We can help you obtain the appropriate protection for your business assets. For more information, please contact our attorneys at 412-741-8400.