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What is Intellectual Property and How Do You Protect It?

What is Intellectual Property and How Do You Protect It?

Intellectual property refers to a collection of ideas and concepts which a single person or business collectively own. Unlike tangible assets, intellectual property involves things that are created by the mind such as literary works, images used in commerce, or inventions. In the U.S., there are three forms of protection for intellectual property including copyrights, trademarks, and patents.

Copyrights: A copyright is a form of protection which applies to written documents. This includes a variety of items including novels, musical compositions and accompanying words, audiovisual works, and architectural drawings and blueprints. When a person holds a copyright, he/she has the right to distribute, modify, perform, and display the work publicly.

Trademarks: Trademarks are used to protect a company’s brand name, logo, or slogan. The Nike Swoosh symbol or the name CoolSculpting® would be examples of a trademark. Strong trademarks are ones that are distinctive and unique to a particular brand or product. The more distinguishing the trademark is, the easier it is to protect it.

Patents: A patent is used to protect a specific product design, process, method, or invention. To qualify for a patent, the design or process must meet several criteria including being novel, useful, and non-obvious. Once granted, a patent gives the creator a 20-year monopoly to sell, make, or use the patented work. Patent protection also requires full public disclosure of the work.

Do you have an invention you would like to protect? Are you interested in working with an experienced intellectual property attorney? Reach out to us at Dodd Call Black to speak with a member of our savvy legal team.