How To Protect Business Trademarks Copyrights And Patents

Copyright protection

Filing for Business Patent, Copyright and Trademark Registration Just like you protect the tangible property of your business with the security system, you need to protect the intellectual property of your business as well.

The intellectual property of the business is usually about the trademarks, product design, business idea, packaging design etc. You need the help of intellectual property laws in order to protect your intellectual business property.

It is important to use the protection provided by these laws early years in the business set up than later many small business startups tend to ignore this important aspect. Some of them don’t think it’s important enough and get too tied up with all the other aspects of starting a business whereas others do not want to increase their business start up expense and simply think that it is something that they can do later.

However, if your business startup is a huge success, you should realize that the competition might spring up fairly quickly and and before he would have had the chance to file the necessary documentation for trademark and patent protection.

Patent protection law

You can only actively defend your business intellectual property if you have registered your trademark, patent’s and copyrights. You should recognize the value of the intellectual property which could be your business concept or the intangible property of your business, product or idea.

If you have created a new product or brought about substantial and significant change in design or productivity of an existing product, you can protect your invention by filing for a patent. In order to effectively address the issues of intellectual property protection for the business you should take the assistance of an experienced intellectual property attorney and identify the issues at hand.

Sometimes the issues concerning trademark or copyright may not be clear to you. In order to discourage competitors from infringing and avoiding litigation later, address these issues before launching the business officially.

Checklist for Ensuring Intellectual Property Protection For A Business

These are some of the questions that you should ask yourself in order to ensure that you have taken the required steps to protect your intellectual business property such as trademarks, copyright and product patent’s. Expect to

  1. Have you invented a new product or process or SUBSTANTIALLY changed the product or process or created a new machine that maybe this for patent? While the product patent process may take a long time you can get a provisional patent that may protect your rights in the meantime.
  2. Does your product have a special design that gives it the competing edge? Consider a design patent if this is true.
  3. Does your marketing plan depend on distinctively and exclusively designed package or the uniqueness of the looks of the product or your shop? Make sure you’re not copying somebody else’s trade dress design and a competitor is not copying yours.
  4. Have you conducted a search for existing trademarks and copyrights before choosing one for your business? You can do the preliminary search online yourself but it is highly advisable to use the professional services of experienced and qualified intellectual property attorney or a trademark firm.
  5. Do not forget international trademark searches.
  6. Have you registered your trademark, logo and trade name?
  7. Does your business involved creating creative product that you or your employees have created such as books, films, are all software?
  8. Are your employees under ‘work for hire’ agreement where you have the copyright for the creative work done by them? Make sure you have the right to use what they create.
  9. Ensure that all creative material that you use in your advertisements, brochures texting and even your website has been cleared by copy protection for usage by you and your business. If you do not have a clear right on using the creative and might be fringing on somebody else’s copyright you can usually get permission to use it for a fee.
  10. Do you have trade secrets and information such as formulas, processes, customer inventory, marketing secrets etc. that you might want to prevent from getting stolen, or the easily accessible to your employees? Have you taken adequate measures to protect this information from your employees and from leaking out to your competition? Courts are willing to protect the trademark and trade secrets of the business as long as the business itself treats them as secrets and uses adequate measures to protect this information from being compromised.
  11. You should consider confidentiality agreements and covenants of ‘not to compete’ with your employees.

Protecting Business Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are important and critical information about your business that people working for you: might have access to. They are most likely going to be some employees in the company who are trusted with having access do the kind of information that is pertinent and critical to the functioning of your business such as farmlands, list of suppliers, customer details as well as marketing and advertising techniques. This information is at danger if the people why your employees today want to leave and join another competing business tomorrow.

The laws treat trade secrets as intellectual property and it is illegal for anybody to steal them. Under the uniform trade secrets act which is enforceable in most of the states in the United States, information counts as trade secrets if it meets the following 3 criteria.

1st, it must have independent economic value to people outside the company.

2nd, the information must be generally unknown and unlikely to be discovered by lawful means.

3rd, the owner of the business trade secret must make efforts to maintain the secret.

All of the above-mentioned 3 points are extremely important if you want to preserve information about your business and prevent it from getting stolen.

For example, the 3rd point states that you must make reasonable efforts to safeguard the information in the 1st place or it cannot be counted as a trade secret. This means that if you have not duly safeguarded the information from casual or easy access by your employees, then the argument 4 trade secret protection will not stand in court even if one of your employees does happen to compromise it to your competitor.

The kind of effort that you need to put into safeguarding your information also needs to be substantial. Speak to a professional about this. Just putting the information in a password-protected directly may also not be sufficient to qualify it as protected and secret business information.

However, one of the trickiest point here is that the law cannot expect or ask an employee to forget the information or erase it from his mind. Even though the employee might not steal any information physically, you cannot do anything about the information that he remembers and something which he might use to the detriment of your business with a competing business.

For this reason companies and businesses include a covenant not to compete in the employment contract. This covenant states that the employee who works for your business is not allowed to work for competing business for a specified period of time. This government also needs to be reasonable and cannot forget the employee for working in the same industry anywhere in the state for 10 years. Added and trademark searches for any names and logos that you considering for your business? You can start a preliminary research online but is advisable. This is unreasonable and would probably not stand to argument in the courtroom.

Protecting Business Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks

Once you have followed the detailed protocols to protect intellectual property and have filed in the necessary paperwork for your trademark registration, Dayton’s and copyrights you need to monitor the market and ensure that nobody else’s infringing on your registered trademarks. You need to monitor the marketplace for knockoffs and copies of your product as well as infringement on your business trademark, product design etc.

In order to enforce your right you can begin by sending an attorney’s letter of warning to the infringer. If the infringer does not desist you might have to file a lawsuit in the quote.

Courts are often willing to issue a cease-and-desist order and even assess damages if the case for copyright violation is clear and cut. If there is a genuine confusion over the copyright issue, resolving such matters may take time. Which brings us once again to the importance of filing the necessary documentation and paperwork for existing trademark, patent and copyright. Having documented proof of your intellectual property speeds up the process of discouraging infringers and resolving lawsuits tremendously.

Filing for Copyright Protection

Copyrights are a fairly simple process when it comes to intellectual property rights. A copy of protection is easier to get as compared to the patent registration.

In a copyright protection is usually reserved for works of creativity such as a book, graphic design, photographs, drawings, website etc. In fact, a creative work comes under copyright protection the minute it takes a fixed form. The meaning of fixed on is that it takes a physical shape such as the words on a page or website or a photograph that has been clicked rather than just an idea in the mind of a person. Creativity and originality is essential for copyright protection. Copyright protection gives the owner of the creative property the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform or display the work or authorize others to do so. You can simply copyright your work by mailing to nonreturnable copies of the work with an application form and a $30 fee to the federal copyright office. Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim. It also enables a person to filed a copyright infringement suit.

When starting a business you need to understand a few things very clearly about copyright laws. Just because you hire a person to do a certain creative work for you such as design your logo or take a few photographs, you automatically do not get the copyright to the creative product. Even though you have commissioned the taking of the photographs and the designing of the local, the creative end product might still belong to the person creating it unless otherwise stated in the contract so when you hire somebody to do some creative service for you, make sure that the work belongs to you if you intend to use it for a business in the future.

The exception to this rule is work for hire which is created by employees in the course of their jobs. In this case the copyright belongs to the employer unless the contract states otherwise. Once again, if you deal with independent contractors you need to specify that the work is for hire and the copyright belongs to.

Filing for A Business Product or Process Patent

Registering Patent Rights for Business Product or Process.

You can register a patent for your business product if you have created something new. Patents are reserved for a product that is a novel, new product or has been brought about with a substantial change in an existing product concept. A patent can be filed for the new product, process or machine. You can also obtain a utility payment which protects your right to that convention for 20 years from the date of filing. A design patent on the original ornamental design for manufactured items gives you 14 years of protection.

It may take a long time for either of these patents to come through and be officially registered but in the meantime you can file a provisional application that puts you in the queue, just in case someone else comes up with the same idea after you. You can file for a provisional utility payment online but the provisional design payment has to be done through postal mail.

As already mentioned, in order to get the patent on your product or process it needs to be new. It cannot have been used in this country for more than a year or be described in any print publication anywhere in the world. It cannot also be obvious modification of another to adopt such as change of size or color. Only the inventor of the product can apply for a patent unless and until he is dead or mentally incapable.

Application for a design patent is fairly simple whereas one for utility patent is complicated and might take longer to acquire. The application for utility payment has to be accompanied by detailed drawings, multiple views and technical information. The amount of paperwork and documentation that needs to be submitted for the utility patent is also more extensive than that for a design patent.

As with trademark registration, the assistance and guidance of an experienced patent attorney is highly advisable. Such a professional will be able to guide you through the process and make sure that you do not miss out on any crucial issue that might endanger your intellectual business property in the future.

Registering a Business Name Trademark

One of the 1st issues that you’re going to face with intellectual property protection for your business is likely to be about your business name and trademark. Since you need to decide the name of the business as well as the logo and signage before you start the business, you will need to address the trademark protection issue before. The trademark includes the name of your business including the slogan, symbol or picture or a logo that signifies and identifies your business to consumer. Common examples are Nikes face just do it, or Apple’s computer logo with an apple with the missing bite.

Any trademark that has been registered will be indicated with an ® behind the name.

A trademark that you are using but has not been registered will be signified by a™ instead. If you are operating a business under the trade name which is different from the name that your business has, you should get the trade name registered as well.

The fact is that any trademark that you use is automatically protected under the common law as soon as you start using it officially on your sign, or in your advertisement. If you do not get it registered officially, the conflict between 2 parties over a trademark is decided according to who started using it 1st.

If you are setting up a local shop and do not have any plans of expanding, you can simply set up your business name and trademark by doing a local search and ensuring that no other business or shop exists by the same name. However, if you do have aspirations to expand nationally you should do a proper trademark search using professional help and get your trademark registered.

State trademark registration is a fairly simple and quick and inexpensive process but it only protects your trademark in your state. This means that someone with the federal patent will supersede your registration.

It is an extremely good idea to register your trademark with the US patent and trademark office, USPTO. You can do an online check for existing agents and trademarks online as well. However, since this is a fairly complicated process, it is highly recommended that you use a professional trademark protection attorney or a firm that specializes in trademark and copyright name research. These professional services can also help you file for registration of your trademark.

Get help and search for existing copyrights and trademarks on this government websites. http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm
http://www.uspto.gov/main/patents.htm
http://www.copyright.gov

The process for getting your trademark registered may take several years. In the meantime you can start by filing an intent to use which comprises of an image of the trademark and so on affidavit stating that you intend to use the trademark in your business.

You can get international trademark protection as well. However, this complicates the process. You will definitely need the help of an experienced trademark lawyer who can search the USPTO, NAFTA and the international history of the world intellectual property organization as well as state databases and common law uses. According to the Madrid protocol when you file for trademark protection in the United States you can designate up to 50 of the 67 member countries ways you want trademark protection. However, the flipside is that any other company anywhere else in the world can do the same thing and probably gain priority rights to your trademark. However, it is highly recommended that you do an international search for trademarks as well before using one for your business.

Choosing the Kind of Intellectual Property Protection Your Business Needs

Depending upon the kind of business you start, one or more kinds of intellectual property protection laws may be required to safeguard your business interest. Deciding how to protect your non-tangible business assets can require the help of a professional intellectual property lawyer. In most of the circumstances, it is always a good idea to consult a property attorney to sort out these matters.

These are some of the common examples of what intellectual property laws can be used to protect your business. 1st of all if you have invented a new product or a new process, a patent registration prohibits others from copying your product, machine, or process.

Copyright is pretty much the same as a patent but it is used for creative endeavors like books, music or software. Trademark laws protect the trademark of the business such as the name, logo, product design. The trade dress law now also protects the overall look, color and shape of the product including how it’s packaged and advertised.

You can choose the kind of protection your business needs depending upon the kind of product or service that you are selling. Sometimes the protection you seek will be an amalgamation of various laws and intellectual property protection rights. As already mentioned before, take the advice of a experienced intellectual property attorney to identify the copyright and trademark issues that your business is likely to face the future.