Prioritized Patents: Do They Only Help Companies Like Google?

December 1, 2014

By Mrigank Mishra

If intellectual property (IP) was a rock band, then a patent would definitely be the lead singer. This is not to say they are better than other forms of IP, just the face of it, and an important one if applicable to your IP. An investor is more likely to be impressed with an IP portfolio with patents than without.

But it is a hard application to both file and be granted, requiring in-depth research and sometimes years before the US Patent and Trademark Organization (USPTO) actually reaches a decision. Considering the amount of work that goes into the process, it is not surprising the cost of filing a patent application is also comparatively higher than other forms of IP rights. Presently the cost is about $1,600. Compared to the $35 for a copyright, around $500–$1,000 for a trademark, and nothing at all for trade secrets (they are not registered), you can see the difference.  (more…)

Protecting Your Inventions: Utility vs. Design Patents

November 25, 2014

By Emily Ely

If you’re planning on patenting your idea, you should be careful in choosing which patent you apply for when protecting your inventions. There are many different kinds of patents, but most likely, you’ll be wanting to choose between a utility or design patent.

A design patent lasts for 14 years. This is subject to change, as are most laws. Design patents are mostly used for, well, designs! If you’re an architect and come up with a novel design for a new kind of Titanic that can’t be sunk, with unique features that no other ship currently possesses then you should apply for a design patent. The design patent makes it illegal for anyone else but yourself to replicate your design, sell it, or use it for the whole fourteen years.

A utility patent lasts for 20 years. This is subject to change, just like the design patent. Utility patents are meant for inventions – so you’re trying to protect the actual mechanism of an invention. Utility patents protect the mechanism of the invention and its function, but it poorly protects its design.  (more…)

Protecting Intellectual Property Locks

October 14, 2014

Intellectual_property_locksEvery small business should have a basic understanding of the laws that apply to protecting intellectual property. It is the only way a company will be able to protect their unique creations and ideas from competitors. There are four major ways a small business can obtain legal protection for intellectual property (IP).

Trade Secrets

This is business information that a company keeps secret. This information gives the small business an advantage over their competitors. It could be a device, method, formula and more. A trade secret example could be anything from the ingredients used in a food product, to the process used for creating an object. This cannot be protected by registering it. A small business must control access to this type of information. Companies must use Non-Disclosure Agreements, employment covenants and more to protect their trade secret.

Copyright

A small business may have created literature to sell their product that should have copyright protection. Copyright protection could also include music, computer software and more. In theory, copyright protection occurs the minute the work in created. When a small business holds a copyright, they will be able to better prove their case if a copyright infringement lawsuit becomes necessary. Details of copyright registration can be found at the US Copyright office website.  (more…)

Streamlining the Search Process for Trademark Registration

September 29, 2014

Notebook-StreamliningTheSearchProcessTrademarks are an essential way to protect your intellectual property (IP) so you can market your goods and services under your brand. However, if you have ever gone through the trademark registration process, you know the challenges in trying to find out whether the idea is already protected.

Trademark applications are not cheap and the cost of re-filing again and again is a wasted expense. To ensure the application is filed right the first time round, it can take up numerous resources and time that you may not have. Even then, you might miss information about a trademark that could eventually put you in danger of infringement.

With a new tool being designed that can help you find information faster, this process may be easier than ever. This digital tool, called TrademarkNow, has been searching for venture capitalists to get it on the market. It recently received a $3.5 million investment from a company called Balderton Capital that will ensure it is used by millions of businesses.  (more…)

3 Reasons to Care About Intellectual Property

August 11, 2014

"Intellectual Ven Diagram between Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks” Intellectual property (IP) is one of the most important components of any business, and yet it is often one of the most neglected. Amidst the furor of innovation and the pressure of day-to-day operations, IP can get lost in the shuffle. But neglecting your IP won’t resolve the issue; in fact, it puts your business at increasing risk every day. So why should entrepreneurs care about IP?

IP is your most valuable asset – Every company has IP whether they know it or not. After all, every business starts with an idea. And while your physical assets show up on your balance sheet, it’s your intangible assets that can set your company apart. Innovative products and processes, creative designs, distinctive signs and branding, and trade secrets are all part of your IP portfolio. As the economy shifts more towards information technology and services, those intangible assets have never been more valuable.

Failing to protect your IP can be expensive – Imagine: You’ve come up with a fantastic new idea–something that will revolutionize how we consume cat videos posted online. You don’t want to wait another day to get started changing the world, so you put off filing patents and trademarks to another day. Unfortunately for you, the patent system is now first to file (not first to invent), and someone else has swooped in and filed for a nearly identical invention in the interim. Even worse, you’ve put considerable time, effort, and money into a project that now has to be scrapped. Filing early will help you avoid these headaches and help you raise capital; investors want to know that you own your IP.  (more…)