introduction to PatentPC

Our mission is to democratize innovations: To make it easier for all to use science and technology to solve problems and to be rewarded with the currency of tomorrow–Intellectual Property (IP). We offer tools and services that enable everyone, small and large, to participate in the long tail of intellectual property.

Table of Contents

1.1  IP Basics

1.1.1  Copyright

1.1.2  Trademark

1.1.3  Trade secret

1.1.4  Unfair competition

1.1.5  Patents  Design patents  Plant patents  Utility patents

1.2  How do I determine which IP category is best for me?

1.1 IP Basics

Intellectual property (IP) refers to human intellectual creations, such as inventions, literary, artistic works, designs, and symbols.

IP is protected by law. They include:

CopyrightOriginal work of authorship
TrademarkBrand names, phrases, or designation
Trade SecretAny secret information
Unfair competitionDeceptive practices by business
Patent Invention

The Founding Fathers hoped to create a system that would reward intellects by giving them a monopoly on their intellectual products. Instead, they all agreed that IP converts ideas and inventions from IP to protect them against being stolen, misused, lost, or stolen. IP also allows people to reap the financial rewards of their creations.

Many types of IP offer different levels of protection. Although each category is discussed separately, it is essential to remember that your invention might fit into more than one IP category.

Copyright laws protect original works of authorship that are fixed in literary, audiovisual, or any other media. Copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the work. Copyright can be used to protect original and creative expressions of ideas. It does not protect ideas or procedures, processes, systems, methods, operations, concepts, principles, facts, discoveries, or other intellectual property.

Copyright protection starts as soon as the work takes a tangible form, usually within 70 years. It is valid for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. Copyright for works for hire lasts 95 years from publication or 120 after creation. You might be able to make a stronger claim for statutory damages. These damages also include reimbursement for your attorney fees.

Copyright protection is a desirable type of protection because of its simplicity.

  • Copyright protection is not dependent on formalities such as registration and deposit of copies in the 151 parties to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. On the contrary, international copyright protection begins when a work has been created.
  • Copyright owners enjoy a long period of protection. This generally covers the author’s lifetime plus 50 years, or in some countries 70 years. Patent life can last as long as 20 years after the filing date.

 The software can be copyrighted or patented. Copyright protects only expressions, not ideas, procedures, operations methods, or mathematical concepts. These often have a high commercial value.

1.1.2 Trademark

Trademarks can be symbols or words used to identify a service or product. Trademark law protects trade identity and the goodwill associated with products and services sold by commercial entities. It is a form of consumer protection. You can be protected from anyone who uses your trademark in any way that diminishes its ability to sell a similar or unrelated product or service. This type of use can confuse consumers. For example, suppose a dry cleaner uses Nike’s swoosh in their marketing materials. In that case, it could confuse consumers into thinking there is an honest relationship between Nike, the dry cleaner, and them. Trademark rights are protected by a combination of federal and common law. To exercise your rights, you don’t need to register your trademarks. The United States generally recognizes a trademark as the owner, at least concerning its geographic area. This is usually done by the actual “use” or sale of goods or services. It is protected as long as the trademark is in use. For example, the Coca-Cola trademark was used for over 100 years.

1.1.3 Trade secret

Trade secrets are confidential information, formulas, or other processes unknown to others. They can give you an advantage in the marketplace. A trade secret could be, for example, a secret recipe you have worked hard to protect.

 Trade secret protection stops others from using and transferring trade secrets without your permission. This protection could last for a lifetime, provided that the trade secrets are economically valuable and you take reasonable steps in protecting them. The trade secret becomes unprotected if someone finds it via reverse engineering or other legitimate means. The trade secret owner can’t sue the discoverers in such cases.

 If you don’t want to disclose details about your invention, trade secret protection could be an alternative to patent protection. Trade secrets can be kept secret. Patents, on the other hand, are not. Patent applications are usually published by the USPTO so that anyone can see how to build or operate your invention.

1.1.4 Unfair competition

Businesses can use deceptive tactics to protect themselves from unfair competition laws. Although the courts still interpret the law, unfair competition covers false advertising, deceptive packaging, and other dishonest acts. These laws also protect consumers from companies that lie about what they do with personal information.

An injunction will be issued if a judge finds that someone is in violation. The injunction stops the violator’s ability to continue doing what they did in violation. This also clarifies what they are allowed and not permitted to do.

1.1.5 Patents

The federal government issues patents. You can control who uses, imports, or sells an invention until it expires. It becomes public domain once the patent expires. This means anyone can freely use the invention once the patent rights have expired.  There are three types: design, plant, or utility. This guide will focus on the utility patent, which will be covered later. First, however, the following provides a brief overview of each type.

Patent Protected Ideas
Design PatentOrnamental design on a valuable item
Plant PatentPlants produced by cuttings or non-sexual means
Utility PatentA new machine, process, or system Design patents

Design patents protect the invention’s original ornamental and aesthetic configuration. For example, a design patent might cover an icon used in an application for a mobile device. It prohibits substantially similar designs from copying, importing, or using after 14 years. Although this type of patent is less costly than a utility patent, it does not protect a specific design. A design patent should not be protected if it has any functional impact on the invention. Plant patents

These patents are for distinct new varieties that have been produced asexually. This means plants can be cloned, grafted, or cut from other sources. The protection is adequate for 20 years after the patent application’s filing date. Utility patents

In short, utility patents are issued by the government for inventions that perform a proper function in a non-obvious way. This means that anything humans create, including Velcro fasteners and computer software, can be protected by utility patents.

The patent holder has limited rights to the invention for a short time after it is granted. These patents cover a broad range of topics and may be valid for as long as 20 years from the date of filing. This makes it more challenging to obtain one than a design patent. The process may also be more costly.

1.2 How do I determine which IP category is best for me?

● Intellectual property includes many intangible creations such as names, visual signs, and art.
● Determine what intellectual property rights are likely to be relevant to a specific object.
● Each one of these rights comes with its own set of rules. Copyrights are not included in the requirements for patent application. This is true for both the length of protection and application formalities.

Start by looking at what you want to protect, how you want it to be protected, and for how long. You may also obtain multiple types of protection if necessary because many of these categories overlap. It is best to speak with an attorney about your specific situation and property.