Business Plans Need To Address IP
There are several things to consider when you are a business or company. One of those considerations are what protections are available for your business or company. If your company or business lacks proper protection, then you may not be able to profit as much or even leave your company or business assets vulnerable to appropriation. In this week’s post, we will be discussing what intellectual property protections are available for businesses or companies. There are different types of companies or businesses, so we will first look at protecting companies or businesses that may have an invention as a valuable asset.
Protection for Inventions
Businesses or companies may be able to profit on inventions they create. One very strong form of protection for an invention would be a patent. A utility patent in particular, provides the patent owner with the right to stop others from making, using, offering to sell, or selling the patented invention, or importing the patented invention into the United States. But patents aren’t always easy to get. There are certain requirements that an invention needs to satisfy before it qualifies for a utility patent protection.
What Are The Requirements?
For an invention to qualify for utility patent protection, it must be considered novel, non-obvious, patentable subject matter, and have some form of utility. Each of these requirements are different from each other. For example, patentable subject matter would look to whether the invention falls under one of the categories that Congress has enumerated as patentable subject matter. These categories include whether the invention is a process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. In contrast, novelty generally looks to whether there is a single reference that contains all the elements of the invention. Additionally, a prior art search may be needed to assess some of these requirements.
Prior Art Search
A prior art search involves searching certain databases to determine what inventions are currently known in the state of the art. A prior art search usually entails searching for inventions that may pose novelty or obviousness issues for your invention. A patent attorney is experienced in conducting prior art searches and looking for issues relating to patentability.
Other Forms Of Intellectual Property Protection
There are other forms of intellectual property protection available for companies and businesses. These protections include either trademark protection or copyright protection. Trademarks and copyrights protect different things, so will we discuss each of them separately.
Trademark law protects logos, brands, or other types of marks or indicia that can be used as a source identifier. Trademark law generally allows the trademark mark holder to use the mark in commerce. We all know how important a logo or brand is for a company and business. So protecting such brand or logo should be protected to ensure that the company or business can not only stand out, but protect its assets as well. Thus, patents can protect inventions while trademarks can protect the brand. But unlike patent law, there is both common law protection and federal law protection available for trademarks. Additionally, the requirements to obtain trademark protection are different from the requirements to obtain patent protection.
Copyrights on the other hand will protect artwork, movies, software, and various other types original works of authorship. Thus, if you are a company that produces artwork or software, there is copyright protection available. Copyright provides the copyright owner the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work, and a few other exclusive rights.
What are your thoughts on intellectual property protection for businesses or companies? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think!
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Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice nor is it intended to be legal advice. It is only for educational or entertainment purposes only. Please do not use the article or contents of the article without permission. For legal advice and questions, please contact registered Patent Attorney Vincent LoTempio.