The human mind is extremely creative, and some people take the initiative to make their dreams into reality. However, without the proper protection, other parties may be able to claim those ideas for themselves.
To prevent this, it is important that inventors claim their intellectual property through legal channels. In order to do this properly, parties should understand the different types of intellectual property.
A copyright covers both tangible and intangible forms of intellectual property. While movies, music and books are some of the most common mediums that people seek copyrights for, that is not an all-inclusive list. Copyrights may apply to a number of different items and ideas and give the copyright holder sole ownership of the copyrighted material. In turn, this also gives the copyright holder the right to prevent others from trying to reproduce the material without permission.
A trademark gives a person or organization full rights to an identifying marker that is associated with an idea, service or product that the entity owns. There are a few different types of trademarks:
Considering that a trademark aids consumers in identifying a certain brand, the trademark owner has the right to restrict other parties from utilizing it. If a trademark owner decides to alter the trademark for whatever reason, this may require a new trademark application, depending upon the extent of the changes.
If an entity has rights to a product and decides to make modifications, enhancements or improvements, a patent may be necessary. It is important to note that the patent only covers the changes, not the original product. In addition, the United States Patent office must approve a patent for it to become legally binding.
With the proper protection in place, parties not only discourage others from trying to steal their ideas but also create a channel of recourse in the event that a party does attempt to claim their ideas illegally. As an intellectual property owner, parties should stay abreast of the current laws and regulations, as well as any changes that may come about.