What are Your Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property laws provide legal protections and rights to the inventor or creator through trademarks, patents, and copyrights.  Intellectual property is defined as ownership of intangible and non – physical goods.

Intellectual Property

More simply put, intellectual property is creations of the mind.  This includes any type of literary, artistic, symbols, names, designs, and images.  Rights in these are rooted in intellectual property laws.  Trademarks, patents, and copyrights provide different and distinct intellectual property rights to the inventor or creator.0


A trademark is any word, logo, phrase, name, sign, design, expression or any combination of these, known as a mark that is registered to an owner so that products or services will be recognizable to consumers.  Trademarks distinguish particular products and services from others so that a consumer may exclusively identify the commercial source.

Trademarks are used to protect the owner of the mark and the consumers.  An owner registering the mark prevents others from using the same or similar mark.  Marks may be owned or licensed by any legal entity such as an individual or business organization.  The owner of a trademark has rights in the “mark” and may pursue legal action known as trademark infringement against a party that uses the mark.

While trademarks protect the owner, they also protect the consumer.  Trademarks inform the buying public of the origin of products and services. Knowing the source of the product and service allows the consumer to make educated decisions on their purchases based off reputation, marketing, and knowledge of the company.  Trademarks may be located on any packaging, label, voucher, or other advertisement of the owner.  Several symbols indicate that a mark is trademark such as ® and ™.


Patents are a tool for inventors so that they may legally protect their invention.  A patent will give an inventor property rights over the invention which prevents all the rest of the world from making, using, or selling the patented invention without permission.  It is important to note that the patent does not protect the idea of the invention, it only protects the invention.

A patent lasts for a limited time period, generally 20 years from the date the application for the patent is filed. A patent is only valid in the country which the application is filed.  Patents are available to inventors in all fields of technology.  The application for a patent needs to meet relevant patentability requirements.  The application must include one or more claims that define the invention which must be useful, novel, and non – obvious.


A copyright gives the creator of an original work exclusive right’s to the work for a limited period of time.  Copyrights are available to any expressible form of an idea or information. The work must be both substantive and discrete.  Works included musical, dramatic, and artistic creations which can include movies, books, songs, sculptures, and software.

Copyrights serve as a way to give the creator of the work credit, determine who may financially benefit from the work, evaluate who may adapt the work to other forms, and other various related rights.  With a copyright, the creator can publicly display, produce, and sell the copyrighted work.  The work does not have to published in order to be copyrighted, it only needs to be produced.


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