When to Obtain a Patent and not a Trademark or Copyright

Intellectual property is a term referring to a concept or idea that is so unique it is valuable. The invention whether it is a work of fiction or a new prescription drug must have legal protection from the U.S. government. It is not always easy for a business owner to know which type of legal protect they need. That’s why it is helpful to seek the assistance of a patent attorney minneapolis mn

What is a U.S. Patent?

A patent is an idea or invention. It is legal protection given for a limited time in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention. Things that can be patented include chemical composition, manufactured articles and industrial processes. Once a patent expires anyone can use the invention or idea as their own. For instance, a business owner will own a design patent for 14 years after they receive their patent protection. Anyone can use that patent after the 14-year period.

What is a U.S. Trademark?

trademark is a symbol, design, word or phrase that identifies a specific company. It also distinguishes companies competing against each other. A service mark is also a type of trademark that distinguish and identifies a certain service from each other.

What is a U.S. Copyright?

A copyright is protection of an original created work. The created work may be dramatic, artistic or literary. The time a copyright holder has on the work depends on many factors. The general ownership is usually the life of the author plus 70 years. Copyright protection prohibits a person or company from using the created work without permission from the copyright holder.

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When to Get a Patent and not a Copyright

A person wants to submit a patent application instead of a copyright when they have a design, invention or idea. They wouldn’t get a copyright for a design, idea or invention because a copyright wouldn’t give them the needed protection. However, if they have software or architecture for their business, they’d obtain a copyright.

When to Obtain Patent Protection and not Trademark Protection

A company will obtain patent when they have an invention or idea they need protect from unauthorized used. This is usually some design or concept that the company wants to use exclusively for the limited amount time they have the patent. They understand that their competitors will be able to use it after their patent expires. If they want legal protection for a symbol, word or logo, they want a trademark. The logo or symbol is something that will distinguish their company from their competitor’s companies. It provides them broader legal protection than a patent.

Getting Legal Assist with Patent-Related Issues in Minneapolis

Intellectual property law is complex and requires expertise in engineering and law. If a concept or invention is at the heart of a business, the business owner should seek legal guidance. An intellectual property lawyer will also represent a client who has had their copyright infringed.