Intellectual property protection has become crucial for any business, whether it’s a small or large scale company. You need your intellectual property rights to prevent other people from stealing your work, product, or anything creative. Any new intellectual property such as inventions, symbols, designs, names, or images created with some effort should be protected to prevent any stealing risks.
When you have your intellectual property legal rights, then no one can copy your product, design, or whatever. You will have the authority to take action against anyone who is trying to misuse your protected intellectual property.
Why IP right is Important?
Intellectual property rights are important because they set you apart from the rest of your competition. When your products, services, or anything new and creative are protected, then it will help you to run a sustainable business.
Consider a scenario where you have not protected your intellectual property by proper rights; this intellectual property could be your product. Now someone else can copy the whole product, or it’s designed to sell in the market. As you have no rights for the product, you will be able to do nothing. Your copied product will be cheaper, but it may go up in a number of sales, causing your sales to drop.
If we see our intellectual property rights from a branding point of view, then it is clear that we must utilize it. Our branding depends upon the appearance of our brand, such as the logo is a great trademark for any brand. The design is also your intellectual property, that’s why you have to protect your design so no one can copy it. Just like branding, IP is also beneficial for your marketing to make yourself unique.
With the help of intellectual property rights, you can offer something new and unique to your customers. Once you have legal rights for your intellectual property, then no one will misuse it, and only your brand will generate more income from that invention.
TYPES OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Intellectual property rights are divided into various types. Each type is used for its specific purpose. There are many types of intellectual property rights, but we will discuss some of the highlighted and main types, such as:
- Trade Secrets
Patents are one of the most common types of intellectual property rights. With the help of a patent, you can prevent people from stealing, using, selling, or importing any of your inventions or service. Once you have your legal patent, it can last 20 years for your property if you keep renewing it. There is a whole procedure to get a granted patent for your intellectual property.
Your company or business generally utilize the following procedure to make sure that you have a granted patent for your intellectual property.
In the very first steps, your team has to analyze where the problem lies. What problem their company or organization is facing while they are trying to work on an idea? Once they are done analyzing, now they will illustrate the problem in order to resolve it. They will make a prototype before they actually jump to the final process.
There is an internal review process occurring after every invention. There is a counsel to score, rank, rate, and asses the invention documents and descriptions to point any type of flaw. This is a time taking process, and these reviews will also take a while. They may review your single invention multiple times.
Once the invention disclosure is complete, and counsel has scored, ranked, and assessed the invention. Now they will judge whether your invention is eligible enough for patent protection. If your invention is marked as deserving of patent protection, then your company can generate its own nonprovisional or provisional patent applications.
In case your invention is not qualified for the patent application, then you are out of the process. You can consider reapplying if something went wrong. Once your patent application is prepared, there will be small tweaks along the process then your application will be submitted to a patent office for the next step where the prosecution begins. Here is back and forth communication between the government patent office.
Now it’s time for docketing. The government patent office provides you some guidelines to follow, including the management of the paperwork and meeting all the filing deadlines specified by the office.
The application process is very difficult. Here you need some help from the intellectual property attorney. They will help you with your application submission and other patent processes for a successful patent.
Once your patent has been legally approved, now maintaining it is another challenge. Your patent is not for a lifetime, and you have to maintain it for long. The patent owner is responsible for the maintenance of patents and paying the renewal fees for the patents. You may not need to renew any outdated invention that is of no use now. You may sell, license, or donate it. In case your invention is performing really well from the sales perspective, then you can innovate it further to maintain competitive momentum.
Patent costs vary from country to country. Every country has set its own patent costs level to assure protection. These costs fall between tens of thousands of dollars, but it is also dependent on your invention complexity. The addition of attorney fees is also included separately to submit your patent application.
There are maintenance costs as well. You have to pay these costs over a lifetime, and they are typically thousands of more dollars. Again these maintenance costs are also dependent on the patent providing country. Be sure to manage all these costs carefully. Figure out your spendings correctly and watch out everything, including the fees you are paying to the attorney and the amount you are spending on the maintenance on your patent. You will be able to effectively spend your money throughout the whole patent process if you keep a close eye on each part carefully.
Trademarks are something different from a patent. The trademarks can be used to protect the following intellectual properties, including:
- Color schemes
These are just some examples, but trademarks also include a lot of other things. The trademark is basically related to the identity of your brand or any of your products — for example, Coca-Cola’s logo or Intel’s logo, etc.
Trademarks are useful to protect any of your intellectual property related to your brand. The trademark registration is not much costly like it was in the case of a patent. These trademarks are closely related to your brand, especially your brand symbol. Just like patents, there is a procedure for trademark registration as well.
The trademark registration process sometimes does not require full registration from the government. You can apply through ample use in commerce. If you are not satisfied and you need proper and extra protection for your trademark, then you have to file an application to the government office to start the registration procedure.
In order to register your trademark, you have to provide representation and registration of the mark relating to your product or service with its proper conjunction uses. If you want your trademark registration to be easy, then you have to contact a counsel that has expertise in trademark registration just like we did for patents. They will guide you and also provide you proper help to make the whole process easy for you.
Trademarks are a safer and less expensive way for registration of any intellectual property related to your brand identity. They are way less expensive than that of patents. On average, it costs you around $225 to $325 for US patent and trademark. There is a separate attorney fee to assist you throughout the process. You have to pay maintenance fees for your registered trademarks 0once in a while, and it is also inexpensive.
Copyright is used to protect your original work, which is being produced by some authors. It does not protect your ideas, but it protects things like art, written work, architectural drawings, programming code, or music. The video gaming industry is leveraging copyright to protect their work.
Once you have copyrights for your desired work, then you officially own it, and you can control the reproduction, distribution, and new versioning of your copyrighted work. You can also allow someone to use your copyrighted material by taking your permission legally.
Just like any other intellectual property right, there is a procedure for copyrights too. The costs are even cheaper than the trademarks. Let’s have a look at its procedure.
When you generate something on your own using any medium, you are already the actual copyright owner. If we take an example of online mediums, then you will see that many platforms have their copyright policies. If you copy anyone’s content, then the platform will take action against you. For Example, Youtube has strict copyright policies.
To keep your desired work protected, you have to go through the government copyright registration process for better results. Copyright applications are really simple, and they are not like any trademark or patent applications; that’s why you can do it yourself without the support of any attorney. For copyright registration in the US, you can use online registration systems provided by the government. They will ask for some basic information that you can easily fill, and you have to give some historical details about the author of your work.
The costs mostly depend upon the type of work that you want to be copyrighted. The copyright prices are relatively way cheaper then trademark registration prices. In the US, normal copyright costs you somewhere between $25 to $100 fees. The most common type of copyright among all is for one work by a single author who normally costs you around $35.
Trade secrets are the secrets kept by big or maybe small brands that are not disclosed yet by the owner itself. These secrets are never disclosed publicly, and they could be anything, including formulas, devices, strategies, systems, or procedures. The trade secrets are like the pillars of the company. They are the reason for the growth of the company. It’s like their secret formula. Some examples of trade secrets include:
- Soda Formulas
- Survey Lists
- Food Recipes
- Marketing Strategy
Let’s move towards the registration procedure. Can trade secrets be protected by filing an application to the government?
There is no such process to register your trade secret with the help of the government. However, you have to keep these secrets to yourself, and you are responsible for their protection. These trade secrets are originally protected until you do not disclose them publically. In order to protect these secrets, you have to take ongoing protection steps by making your system more secure and restricting access.
The trade secret is a non-disclosure type of agreement. You can arrange different conferences with your employees, and you can create strict policies for them to keep your trade secrets within the company. Make sure that no one has physical or digital access to your trade secrets, or else they can easily be stolen and misused. The coca-coca is successfully protecting its soda formula trade secret for a long time, and it is never publically disclosed. This makes the company stand out from the rest of the competition, giving it an advantage, among others.
There are officially no costs associated with the registration process because you are not dealing with the government. You have protected this intellectual property all by yourself. You have to take precautionary measures in order to protect your trade secrets so that they can stay covered for a long period of time. The costs of your trade secret protection also depend upon the scale of your company. If you are a large-scale company with huge secrets, then you must spend good money to protect them; otherwise, they will leak out, and your company may face some problems.