Intellectual Property 101: Basic Overview of IP

If you are in the process of developing a new product, it is important to understand how intellectual property (IP) laws protect you. IP laws protect a range of inventions. An invention is a product, including a new use for an existing product, or a new technical solution to an existing problem. However, before you get started, you should have a basic understanding of why it is so important to discuss your invention with an intellectual property attorney.

Different Types of Intellectual Property Protection

You should first understand there are variances in intellectual property protections. Some of the different types of IP protection include:

  • Copyrights – Designed to protect any written materials from being used by other people, this is often used for inventions or products with software code attached to them. It is important to note that a copyright would apply only to the code itself and not to the “idea” behind the code.
  • Trademarks – Should a product you create involve a logo, symbol or other graphic representation that distinguishes it from other products, you may need to consider applying for a trademark. If you are uncertain what type of graphic is applicable, think about Apple, Inc. or Coca Cola; their product logos are trademarked because they are distinct.
  • Patents – Patents are used for new product designs or machines, or they may be used when a process is improved. A patent would grant you the exclusive right to the product for a period of up to 20 years. This means only you can sell, use or further develop the product during that period.

Why IP Protection Matters

As you further develop a new technology, you may need to seek financing or other outside assistance with things like marketing, which will involve other people and potentially delay your product rollout, thus jeopardizing your idea. Having the proper protections in place as soon as your idea is solidified means you can move forward feeling confident that your competitors cannot jump ahead of you into the market. Protecting yourself from improper use of your ideas, research and initial product model can only be done if you take advantage of the necessary protections offered to you under U.S. intellectual property laws.

Benefits of IP Protections

Sales of a new product, licensing and even business partnerships can be strengthened if your business has the right IP protections. Ownership of a patent may provide an opportunity to secure additional sales through joint ventures, play a role in attracting new partners into your business and even assist you in obtaining much needed capital.

Many people who are considering developing a product seldom think about the consequences of insufficient protection; this can be a costly mistake. When you start the process of developing a new product, contact Enventys Partners and let us help you find an intellectual property attorney and assist you with product research and the development of a marketing strategy.

Note: This page is intended to provide legal information. It is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. If you have specific questions about a legal matter, please contact your attorney.

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