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Patent An Idea: How Can You Protect Your Invention Ideas?
What is intellectual property?
Intellectual property is anything that is produced by your intellect and creativity. It can be anything ranging from music, videos, documentaries, movies, novels, and comics. It also includes the designs and the images that are used in commerce.
Your intellectual property is protected from idea theft by law under patents and copyrights. Such laws exist to enable people to benefit financially by their creation. Intellectual property system allows creativity to flourish by striking the right balance between the Innovator’s interest and the wide public demand.
What is Idea Theft?
Idea theft is actually the worst concern for entrepreneurs. Imagine you have spent hours, days, months, or even years to come up with a terrific and lucrative idea; you’re pretty excited about it, and things are going well, then some company walks into the picture and claims your idea to be their own. They steal the profits away from you and you’re left with nothing. While this doesn’t generally happen, it takes one bad apple to ruin the lot.
This is what patents, trademarks and copyrights protect you against. Formally idea theft may be defined as claiming another person’s intellectual property to be your own. In this hub our main focus in going to be on patents.
A patent is a fee-based government issued protection to the intellectual property of an individual. Items having a patent cannot be copied, reproduced, or sold without the permission of the person whom the IP belongs to. A patent usually lasts for a limited time period, generally it is 20 years. The negative point if you patent an invention idea is that it allows public exposure of your idea to the public.
A patent is generally granted for an invention to the inventor. It is granted by the patent and the trademark office.
Patents can be pretty powerful. For example, the features and the innovation of the IPhone are the intellectual property of the Apple company, and thus they are copied by patent rights. Samsung once copied some of those features thus violating the copyright. It had to pay 120 million of dollar in fines to Apple for violating its copyright.
Patents are a part of Civil law, and all cases regarding patents are generally filed in the civil courts. There is no punishment for the violation of patent, but monetary compensation is given to the victim by the offending party. As in the example mentioned above, Samsung didn’t go to jail for violating the copyright, they gave $120 million as monetary compensation of the loss that Apple may have had to face due to the copyright infringement.
How to file for a patent
Getting a patent for your invention idea can be a complex process, but I think it is for the protection of the innovator himself. To apply for a patent, you must describe your invention in great detail. You must explain it from all angles, and you should tell what makes it unique and different from other such stuff in the market. Furthermore, you also have to define the limits of your patent. You have to describe what restrictions you want to impose on your IP through the patent.
Hire a Lawyer
Like any other legal document, filing for patent protection requires you to use formal and complex law terminology throughout. It is advised that you hire a lawyer to take over all the technical Jargon for you. A patent lawyer will be able to help you cover all the key points in your patent that you may have otherwise missed.
Patent lawyers are intelligent people; you can’t become a patent lawyer unless you obtain registration from the U.S patent and trademark office, and then they have to pass a patent bar exam too. In short, these guys know what they’re doing. So I highly recommend that you hire one when you want to file a patent for your invention idea.
How does a patent differ from copyrights and Trademark?
Before I get to answer this question, we need to understand what copyrights and trademarks are. A copyright is a form of protection offered to “original works of authorship”. It applies to books, music, drama and certain other intellectual work; the works may be either published or they may be unpublished.
A copyright gives the author the exclusive right to distribute, sell or reproduce his work. The author may extend the distribution rights to his publishers if he wants to. A copyright just protects the way something is expressed; it doesn’t protect the subject itself.
For example all people can define love, however if my definition of love has a copyright on it then you can’t define love using the words I use.
Copyrights are registered by library or congress or the copyright office.
A trademark is a name, symbol, or any other device that is used to identify a brand and distinguish it from other brands in the market. For example, the trademark of Nike is a tick, the trademark of apple is an eaten apple, and the trademark of hub pages is a white H on a black square background.
A trademark may be used to prevent others from using a same symbol, name, or device as the one you are using, but it won’t prevent them from making the stuff that you make. In other words, a trademark only protects the identity, it doesn’t protect anything else.
If somebody uses a symbol that may be confused with what you’re making then you can sue them for violation of trademark, but you can’t sue them for trademark violation even if they make the same goods you make. Your goods have to be protected under patent if they are an invention, and they will need copyright protection if they’re works of authorship.
A summary of Differences:
|Protects Invention only||Protects works of ownership only||Protects the name, symbol, or device used to identify a brand or service.|
|Registered with patent and Trademark Office||Registered with library of congress or copyright office.||Registered with patent and Trademark office|
Whether you’re an author, an inventor, or an entrepreneur be sure to have your intellectual property protected. You don’t want anyone taking your new invention ideas do you?