Sunday, May 2, 2010

What is the Difference Between a Patent, a Trademark, and a Copyright? by Daniel Gibbs

Intellectual property is protected by international and U.S. law, just as it would be your car or savings account. You can earn profit from property intellectual rights, you have the option to lease or sell them, and by using patents, trademarks and copyrights, you can also protect them.

If you want to have protection within the United States, you must have a patent issued by USPTO. There are patent rights organizations for international markets also. If you own a patent of something, you have the exclusive right to produce and market your invention for 20 years. Is someone wants to make it, license it, use it, sell it, or even offer to sell it has to have your permission.

If you want to patent an idea of yours, you must be prepared the patent application is lengthy and expensive, and there is also no guarantee you will get it. In 2007 USPTO received 485,000 applications, but issued only 93,691 patents.

If you apply for a patent, you can opt for three categories: utility patents are for processes, machines and item compositions, such as certain drug formulas. Design patents protect the appearance and design for clothing, protective gear and characters. Plant patents are for the protection of hybrid and genetically engineered plants.

However, there are things that can not be patented, such as abstract ideas. These can be protected by copyright, if they are written down. Illegal things and physical elements like water or iron also can not be patented.

Trademarks are things like words, names, logos, colors or sounds associated with a particular merchandise or service. Trademarks have the role of preventing the competitors to use the same logos or names to confuse consumers. Trademarks are issued for ten years, and you can renew it as long as you use t in your business. There is no possibility to renew a trademark if the company it belongs to is not operating.

Copyrights are for the protection of any artistic work, form poetry to video games and movies. Even choreography can be copyrighted, if it is written down. Copyrights can be registered thorough the U.S. Library of Congress, and they take effect once the idea is created in some fixed form. With other words, an idea in your head can not be copyrighted, it has to be written down. Copyright lasts as long as the creator lives, plus 70 years for things created before January 1, 1978. For the work created before, there is a maximum of 95 years.

Daniel has been writing articles online for nearly 4 years now. Not only does he specialize in business related issues, you can also check out his latest websites on conference call UK and Hon Filing Cabinets.


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