July 1, 2023Share
The Guards of Innovation
Using Trademarks and Patents to Protect Your Ideas
You created the blueprint for the most iconic shoe style this generation has ever seen, but someone or some company has stolen it from you, or even worse, you handed it over to them on a silver platter without even knowing it. You are probably asking yourself, who would do that? Well, if your intellectual property rights are not properly protected, this could very easily be you.
It is a classic David and Goliath story. The little guy presents proposed designs to the big guy without a nondisclosure agreement or a non-circumvention agreement; the big guy takes those ideas and earns the profit that would rightfully be yours, if you had properly protected your ideas. Unfortunately, without reasonable steps to protect intellectual property, there is not much recourse.
What Can I Do to Protect My Intellectual Property?
One way to receive protection is to hire a qualified attorney to register a trademark. Registering a trademark is a detailed process that requires the experience and knowledge of a trademark attorney. One problem with filing a registered trademark without an experienced attorney is the risk of unnecessary delays; by the time any errors are corrected, it could be too late.
An alternative to registering a trademark would be to file a patent. There are multiple types of patents, and a qualified patent attorney can assist you with determining which is right for you. The three common types of patents are utility, design, and plant.
Utility patents – A utility patent is the creation of a new or improved product, process, or machine. For example, if you created an operating system within cell phones that made it exponentially better to use.
Design patents – Similar to utility patents except design patents are protected for the look and aesthetic value than for its’ inner workings. Think design protects the “look,” and utility protects the “how.”
Plant patents – Plant patents are invented or discovered and asexually reproduced into a new type of plant.
Regardless of the type of patent, to obtain a patent, the applicant must meet certain criteria. Errors in applications can result in failure to establish the required criteria—patent attorneys have the expertise, skills, and experience necessary to avoid such mistakes.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives an introductory idea into your options for protecting your intellectual property and the benefits of utilizing qualified counsel to assist with this process.