Protecting Your Invention or Product

If you are self-employed or are a small business owner, and need a command of the process of intellectual property protection, below is a summary of the basics as well as links to other resources that can help set you on your way.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, companies that protect their intellectual property drive more economic growth in the U.S. than any other single sector.

The unfortunate flip side of this fact is that small businesses are more vulnerable than any other sector to piracy, counterfeiting, and the theft of their intellectual property. Small business owners often at times simply don’t have access to the intellectual property protection know-how that larger corporations do.

Understanding the Difference between Patenting and Other Forms of Intellectual Property

There are essentially three forms of intellectual property: patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Each has a distinct definition and relevance to the small business owner looking to protect inventions, brand, or intellectual works:

  • Patents - A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor. Patents are granted for new, useful and non-obvious inventions for a period of 20 years from the filing date of a patent application, and provide the right to exclude others from exploiting the invention duringthat period.
  • Trademarks  A trademark is different to a patent since it only protects words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in commerce.
  • Copyright  The Library of Congress registers copyrights, which last for the life of the author plus 70 years. Books, movies andmusical recordings are all examples of copyrighted works.

 How to Apply for a Patent

There are three types of patents that you can apply for based on the nature of your invention – utility patents, design patents, or plant (of the green variety) patents. A useful starting point is to find out what can and cannot be patented. You can call the United States patent office for assistance.

To get a patent you will need to process an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This is a complex process, and almost all experts recommend that patent-seekers retain the services of a registered patent attorney or patent agent to prepare and prosecute their applications.

How to Register Your Trademark

If you want to stake a claim on your trademark through the use of the ‘TM’ (trademark),’SM’ (service mark) or the ‘(R)’ federal registration symbol, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Determine whether your product is eligible for a trademark
  2. Conduct a trademark search
  3. Register for the trademark online (for a fee) via the Trademark Electronic Application System

Patents, Trademarks and Overseas Markets

Only 15 percent of small businesses that do business overseas realize that a U.S. patent only provides protection in the U.S. Below are the basics about intellectual property protection in overseas markets:

  • OverseasPatents – Almost every country has its own patent law and you’ll need to follow the patent application process within the country in which you wish to protect your invention.
  • International  Trademarks -   You can file for trademark registration, via a single application, in certain countries only if you are already a qualified owner of a trademark application pending before the U.S. Patent Office. If you want to protect your trademark overseas you’ll need to file for international trademark protection.

Copyright Law

If you want to protect original works of authorship such as music, books, screenplays, etc. copyright law can protect published and unpublished works against illegal reproduction, distribution, performance, etc.

Avi Werde

Head Quarters , 231 Rogers Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11225, United States

Avi started his business life at a very young age, which has allowed him to explore many industries. After finishing his studies as a music student he went on to other areas in the hospitality industry expanding his knowledge and experience to the point that he felt unsatisfied by the restraints and slow progressions of working for another leading him to create his company ECS (Event Connection Source). This brought Avi national and international attention as the world was to experience their first large scale Jewish wedding expo, opening doors that he has been yearning to open. He has since been involved with projects such as Concerts, Galas, Art Shows, Art installations, Fashion shows, managing event spaces, birthdays, product launches, corporate events, Festival management, parties, event marketing, PR, the works.