Protecting your intellectual property is more important now than ever because it ensures that your unique creations and innovations belong to you. Trademarking your intellectual property is one of the three most common intellectual property protections used today, in addition to patents and copyrights claims. In this article, we’ll cover why trademarking is important and where to begin the process.
Intellectual Property and How to Protect It
Intellectual property (IP) refers to a product, service or idea invented by an individual or organization. The inventors or organizations the inventors work for can claim intellectual property rights so that they have protections, just like physical property such as a house or car.
Intellectual property rights will protect a variety of IP like designs, artistic work and brands. Original designs, works or brands are the property of the creator and therefore the creator has IP over their creations. That is, as long as the IP wasn’t created in the scope of their employment, in which case the organization that the creator works for has the IP rights. It’s important to know what type of IP you’ve invented so you are aware of the appropriate IP protections that go along with it.
Intellectual Property Protection
IP protections prevent other people from using your IP without your permission. The most common types of intellectual property protection (IPP) are copyright, patents and trademarks. Copyright protects original works like novels, sculptures, computer software, architecture and symphonies. On the other hand, trademarks protect words, phrases, graphics or designs because they are what distinguishes you from your peers.
To gain federal trademark rights, you must register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Logos, brand names and phrases are items you should definitely trademark as a start-up business. When registering your trademark online, you have the ability to search existing trademarks for potential conflicts or to see if your trademark is already taken. Note that if your trademark conflicts with another already registered trademark, it may be rejected by the USPTO.
An attorney can come in handy when you’re trying to navigate potential conflicts with your trademark. You also might want to consider hiring a lawyer in case someone filed a case against you or if you’re trying to endorse your personal trademark rights.
Whether you’re a start-up or an established brand, it’s incredibly important to take advantage of your intellectual property protections so that your work is protected from plagiarism and so that you are the sole beneficiary of your creation.