Learning How To Protect Intellectual Property

Intellectual property refers to a legal term that recognizes exclusive rights of intangible assets. Some of the better-known IP types include copyrights, patents, trademarks, brands and also trade secrets, usually for intangible assets like music, art, inventions, symbols, logos and designs.Registering your intellectual property (IP) rights serves to spur innovation by enabling creators to protect their assets, without any fear of imitation for a certain period of time. Protecting it thus becomes important to preserve the rights of inventors and artists.Imagine if you shared your novel idea with someone and it was subsequently replicated without your knowledge. There is little you can do in this case. First and foremost, the main goal is not to talk about your idea or go public with your decision to protect your intellectual property before you have actually protected it.You should keep in mind some concepts for protecting intellectual property. It has the same ownership rights as that of physical property and is important to effectively manage your intellectual property to ensure that you get the best protection for your idea or invention.Intellectual property can be bought, sold, owned or licensed in the same way, as you would do for a physical property. It can prove to be extremely valuable to many businesses and in fact, many of them list it as assets in their balance sheets. It is also important not only to protect the asset, but also to safeguard the products, processes and creative inputs from which the final idea has been generated.In the case of technology companies, because technology evolves so rapidly with product development and enhancement at the helm, it becomes important for companies to protect its intellectual property. There are several ways to protect your property, but it depends on the type of IP that you have. You should know the type of intellectual property that you want to protect and exercise your right to make it legally yours.PatentsIf you have developed an enhanced product or process that is unique, you may want to obtain a patent. The holder of a patent can stop any external party from replicating or selling his invention for a certain period of time, depending on the type of invention. It may be a complex process, so it might be ideal to hire a legal expert with experience in patent law.CopyrightsA copyright stipulates protection for original works like authorship, literary, music, drama, photography, audio, video, software and other intellectual works. Copyright protection becomes relevant when the work is set in a tangible medium. The owner should begin using the symbol as soon as he receives the copyright in order to let others know that he will be exercising his right over the performance or display of the work. It is always best to consult with an attorney to understand the pros and cons of copyright protection for your intellectual property.TrademarksRegistering a trademark will help to protect the name of your product by preventing others from selling any product under the same or similar name. It seeks to prevent confusion by preventing others from using a deceptively similar name for their products. The first step in registering a trademark is to do a trademark search and ensure that it does not already exist. It is advisable to hire an attorney who has experience in intellectual property and can get the trademark search and application process started for you.