The world of business can seem challenging with different terms for everything. Knowing some common terms used to refer to intellectual property mechanisms is important because it can assist in selecting the right strategies to maximize your business success. When you consider that many businesses operate online, whether it is services or products, having an excellent intellectual property strategy provides another layer of protection for your products, brands, services, and business reputation. Here are some essential intellectual property mechanisms that online businesses (and traditional brick and mortar shops as well) should consider when developing an intellectual property strategy to maximize competitiveness in the marketplace.
Trademarks are the words, logos, sounds, company name, product line names, program names, service names, product names that help customers identify the origin of your goods and services. This is a way to protect your branding and marketing materials so that competitors cannot steal your clients by imitating your brands. One benefit of federal trademark registrations is that they are renewable as long as the associated branding is properly used in commerce in a continuous fashion.
To keep a trademark registration alive, the trademark owner must file required maintenance documents at regular intervals. If the required documents are not filed in a timely manner, it will result in the cancellation of the U.S. trademark registration. It is best to consult with an intellectual property attorney to assure that your filings are timely and accurate.
Acceptable Identification of the Goods and Services manual
When you file your trademark application, this document has a list of goods and services deemed acceptable to include in the trademark documents. The most important aspect of this manual is that it is a guide to what the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) will accept. While not a full list, it can be used as a guide as to the kinds of services you may offer. However, it is important to work with a trademark attorney to avoid submitting an incorrect or overly limiting description of the goods and services that are/will used with your branding.
An author’s works, music, writing, art, and related materials are intellectual property, and should be protected by copyright. Many people believe you must register your work to obtain a copyright. While a common law copyrights vest when the creation is completed, it is necessary to secure a federal trademark registration to sue for damages and to take advantage of statutory damages. Failure to obtain a federal copyright registration often means that no damages are available when proof of actual damages is not available.
A patent is a property right granted by the government to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States.” Patents differ from copyrights in that a utility patent protects how something works, the main idea, a structure, a method, a chemical compound, or the like. Design patents protect how an object looks and can be very advantageous to file in addition to utility patents when protecting a new device.
Understanding the different types of intellectual property protections that can be used to protect is critical in developing a beneficial intellectual property strategy. For help with any intellectual property needs, contact Garcia-Zamor today.