Lawyers for intellectual property are ready to help you protect your ideas.
If you have a new idea or an important business secret, lawyers of intellectual property can help you make the most of it and protect it from someone trying to steal it from you. But what how exactly do intellectual property protections work?
Types of Intellectual Property Protections
There are four main types of protection for intellectual property: trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets.
Trademarks are signs, symbols, expressions, words or phrases that represent the source of a product or service. Trademarks have legal protections. Company logos are great examples of trademarks, but other things can have trademark protections too, such as colors. The Tiffany robin-egg-turquoise blue is a good example of a trademarked color.
Copyrights refer to legal protections for creative work, such as a song, painting, movie or book. There are several exceptions, but simply put, a copyright allows only the author (or anyone the author permits) the right to profit from or distribute the work. Copyrights typically last the life the author plus a certain number of years after the author’s death. Each country has its own copyright laws, so copyrights don’t traditionally extend beyond a country’s borders. This means international copyright violations are not easy to stop.
Patents provide intellectual property protections for inventions. Under United States patent law, an invention must be new, useful and non-obvious to obtain a patent. The initial length of patent protection is 20 years, although there are ways to extend this amount of time.
Trade secrets can include a wide variety of things a business considers a secret because it provides them an advantage over their competitors. Examples of trade secrets include food recipes and customer lists. The law doesn’t protect trade secrets solely because it’s a secret. If a trade secret becomes public, there’s very little the trade secret holder can do unless there was a violation of something else, such as a contact like a nondisclosure agreement.
The Importance of Protecting Intellectual Property
In many businesses, their intellectual property is the only thing making money and without it, the business cannot survive. For example, imagine if just anyone could make and sell the iPhone. Apple would face tens of billions of dollars in lost sales. Then imagine all the lost time and money Apple put into the design of the iPhone that’s now available to any phone manufacturer.
But you don’t have to be a multi-billion dollar corporation to enjoy intellectual property protections. Even a heating and cooling repair company could go out of business if its list of current customers became available to all other heating and cooling companies in the same geographic area. All the competitors would need to do to steal customers is look at the customer list, contact the customers, ask the customers how much they pay their current heating and cooling company, then offer a slightly lower price. Chances are good that many customers will switch heating and cooling companies.
Find out what you need to know about lawyers for intellectual property by calling the Wilbanks Law Firm, P.C. at (706) 335-2355.