Several different types of intellectual property.


Copyright protects any type of expressive art, such as text, music, movies, architecture, and other primitive intellectual and artistic expressions. Copyright grants the owner the exclusive right to reproduce his work, publicly display, perform and create derivative works of the work.

Unless theories or ideas are recorded in a fixed medium, they are not protected. The act of creation produces copyright. This means that even unpublished works are protected by copyright law. The use of copyright symbols and dates is common, but there is no need to prove that you have copyright.

Copyright owners are also granted economic rights, and can obtain economic benefits from the creation of their works. The law prohibits others from obtaining these economic benefits unless permission is obtained from the copyright owner. In the case of fair use (e.g. book reviews), there are some exceptions to copyright exclusivity.

Whether or not a copyright notice is attached or registered, the current law protects the work. The federal agency responsible for implementing the act is the Copyright Office of the library of Congress.

Most copyrights are valid for the creator’s term (plus 70 years).

Patent right

The invention of the patent protection owner will not be manufactured, sold or used by others for a certain period of time. A patent gives an inventor the right to sell his product or to profit from it by transferring the right to another person or enterprise.

Depending on the type of patent you are applying for, your rights are valid for up to 20 years. Please note that patent protection will be denied if your invention is considered obvious, useless or morally objectionable in design.

You can obtain three different types of patents in the United States.

Utility patent:

Utility patents protect inventions with specific functions. This covers chemicals, machinery and technology.

Design patent:

These types of patents protect the way an object or product is made to look, in fact, its design. These patents include industrial designs.

Plant patents:

Plant patents protect asexual plant types. This includes hybrids.

Inventors don’t automatically get patents when they invent something new. They must apply for and obtain approval for their patents to be protected by intellectual property law.

If you have never applied for a patent before, it is recommended that you hire a patent attorney to assist you in the complex and time-consuming application process.


Trademarks help protect product and company names, trademarks, and slogans. Trademarks make it easy for customers to distinguish competitors, help avoid confusion, and prevent misleading advertising. Trademarks are automatically assumed. Once an enterprise starts using a trademark or brand name, you can follow the symbol after the TM without having to submit it to the government.

Unlike copyrighted works, trademarks are protected to varying degrees according to consumers’ perceptions of trademarks, the types of services and products they identify, and the geographical areas in which they are used.

Rights may last forever, though not necessarily, but trademark owners can register their trademarks for more protection.

Geographical indication

A geographical indication is a sign or image used on a product from a specific geographic location. Usually, people do this when the location has certain qualities, reputations, or characteristics that make the origin different.

It must be noted that copyright, patents and trademarks are the basis for the legal protection of intellectual property rights; therefore, it is important to use a certain degree of skill in drafting the documents needed to obtain these protections. If you do not have this skill, you should apply for an intellectual property lawyer with specific experience in your field or industry.

Right of publicity

A person’s image and name are protected by different state laws known as the right to publicity. These laws protect people from using their names or images for commercial purposes without authorization. For example, unless you allow them to use grains, the company won’t use your photos on cereal boxes. Your level of protection varies by state.

Trade secrets

Trade secrets laws can be found at the state and federal levels. They can protect sensitive business information, such as marketing plans to introduce new software or secret recipes for soda brands. The degree of trade secret protection depends on whether the information gives your business an advantage over competitors. It must also be a secret to most of your employees, and none of your competitors knows it.

Privacy right

Although technically this is not part of intellectual property law, national privacy law is there to protect the rights of all. When someone publishes or uses other people’s private information in a public forum, privacy violation occurs. Laws that violate privacy rights can protect people from intruding, exposing personal information about others or falsely depicting others.

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