There are many types of creativity, and many types of intellectual property rights to protect them. The World Trade Organization broadly defines intellectual property rights as “the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds.” This definition is intentionally general because there are so many different kinds of creations that are ultimately affected by this area of law. There are four major types of intellectual property rights. Each specific right is protected via a different process. These rights may generally be enforced in court as long as these rights remain current and exclusive to the original creator.
Non-provisional patent protections help to ensure that manufactured products, processes, designs and asexually reproducing plant species are protected from potential infringement. In order to qualify for patent protection, creative work must generally be novel, nonobvious and useful. In order to obtain formal patents, inventors, designers and creators must submit non-provisional applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent application process is highly detailed and time-consuming. It is important to note that until a non-provisional filing date is secured, the intellectual property rights to a new creation remain largely unenforceable in court.
Trade Secret Protection
Trade secret protections cover confidential business processes, products and general information that facilitate a business’s competitive edge. Unlike other types of intellectual property, the U.S. government does not have a formal process in place that allows for the safeguarding of trade secrets. Instead, companies generally use non-disclosure agreements and similar binding contractual obligations to protect confidential information.
Much like patent protections, trademark protections are obtained via an application process through the USPTO. This type of intellectual property rights safeguards words, logos, symbols and other design elements used to distinguish one company and its products from another.
Copyright protections safeguard most artistic works. The U.S. Copyright Office automatically grants copyright protection to an original work of authorship “the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” Unlike other types of intellectual property rights that require registrations, this means that an original form of expression is automatically protected under the law as soon as it is completed in this way. However, it is important to understand that copyright protections are generally only enforceable once copyrighted work has been properly registered with the USCO.
Consult an Intellectual Property Lawyer
If you have questions about any type of intellectual property rights, reach out to an affordable intellectual property lawyer at LawTrades. We have extensive experience helping to protect the intellectual property of both individuals and businesses. Attorneys on the LawTrades intellectual property team also have many years of experience aiding businesses and individuals in enforcing their rights when their trademarks, copyrights, patents and/or trade secrets are being infringed upon. We are passionate about safeguarding creative work. Please contact LawTrades today for all of your intellectual property legal needs.