Having protection for your intellectual property is essential for your business. When your designs and ideas are not protected, it can leave your most valuable assets vulnerable.
Before you get started making your application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it is essential to know what kind of protection you need.
Here’s what you should know about the types of protection you can get for your intellectual property.
Protection for a patent
Except for a couple of specific types of patents (like design patents), a patent typically protects inventions of new processes, which can include:
- Chemical processes
- Complex machinery
- Pharmaceutical drugs
In addition to the original idea, you can also patent designs that make something common, like an engine, work in a new and unique way. When you seek patent protection for your invention, it typically protects your idea from being copied and sold by others without your consent.
Taking care of a trademark
If you are new to intellectual property protection, it can be confusing to learn the difference between a patent and a trademark since you might see the trademark designation (TM) on some of your favorite products.
While you may see the trademark symbol on a product, it typically applies to a word or design on the item, not the item itself. For example, a brand name like Band-Aid has a registered trademark, while the product has a patent.
When you have trademark protection for the words, phrases or designs that distinguish your products, it helps prevent others from using the same or similar designations.
As you consider protecting your intellectual property, it is essential to think about what needs protection and the best avenue for protecting it. Once you have a patent or trademark for your IP, consider how long the protection will last and what you need to do when your protection runs out.