Main Types of Intellectual Property
Intellectual property law is a branch of law that involves the various ways that an inventor, writer, artist or creator of some kind can legally protect the things that he or she creates. This type of protection is important for ensuring that those who invent and create can be the sole owners of the benefits that result from their work. Without this protection, anyone could claim this work as their own, stealing it for profit or similar. There are four main types of intellectual property, which are patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. While these may sometimes slightly overlap, they each have attributes that make them unique in their application.
Patents and Trademarks
Patents are the most common type of intellectual property protection. Patents are granted by the federal government for inventions or processes that are new and useful in some way and that are unique. A patent cannot be used to protect an abstract idea. Patents are granted for a specific period of time, and must be maintained with periodic renewal fees. A trademark, on the other hand, protects symbols, logos, phrases and the like. An example of a trademarkable symbol is the apple logo for Apple Computers. It is not required that a trademark have government approval as it can be protected simply by its frequent use. However, filing a formal application for the trademark offers superior protection for it.
Copyrights and Trade Secrets
Copyrights are intellectual property protections that apply to written works like novels, music, art, or even software program codes. Copyrights protect “original works of authorship”, or different ways of expressing ideas, but not the ideas themselves. Copyrights are registered with the government U.S. Copyright Office, and the process is simple enough that an author can usually do this alone. It is much cheaper to apply for a copyright than for a patent.
Trade secrets are forms of information that are confidential and that give some sort of advantage to a business that uses them. There is no formal registration process to protect a trade secret, but in-house security measures can be used by a business or corporation to protect this kind of information.
Call to Schedule a Consultation With an Intellectual Property Lawyer Today
If you want to protect some of your intellectual property, call to schedule a consultation with a New York intellectual property lawyer today. The skilled professionals at the law offices of Rubinstein & Associates PLLC will help you find the type of intellectual property protection that is appropriate for you. We serve the areas of Woodmere, Long Island, Lynbrook, Hewlett, Rockville Center, Cedarhurst and surrounding Nassau County communities. Visit our website at rubesq.com or give us a call at 516-268-7077 and let us answer any questions about intellectual property that you may have.