For protecting an idea so that someone else can’t steal it, it is essential to secure one or more of the different forms of Intellectual Property (IP). Quite often, every invention begins as its owner’s trade secret. Hence, there is a need to go ahead with Trademark Registration, Patent Protection, or Copyright Registration and have Intellectual Property Protection in hand before marketing the innovations or inventions. Most of the people around the world are not aware of the fact or haven’t yet fully realized that they can protect their innovations using various forms of IP. Let us consider an example to have a better understanding of this concept. The brand ‘Coca-Cola’ is a trademark; its recipe is a trade secret; Copyright Protection is there on its packaging art, and its bottle or Can are protected by both a design patent and trademark in the form of trade dress. In the same manner, your unique product or invention can also seek protection by more than one type of IP. It is imperative to parse out which aspects of your innovation are suitable for Trademark Protection, patent protection, and copyright protection, respectively.
Safeguarding a brand’s name deserves the utmost importance as one would never want to invest time and money at a later stage after finding out that someone else is already using his or her registered mark. A trademark is a name, symbol, or sign associated with a product or service and is known to protect a brand. To be specific, a trademark is anything that helps the customers in identifying a product or its source. Moreover, other things like color, sound, or smell can serve as a trademark too. The most common types of trademark include logos, watermarks, and slogans. If you are planning to go ahead with trademark registration, start by protecting the wordmark first and then seek trademark protection for the other aspects of your product as a part of your overall marketing and business strategy. Besides, it is highly advisable to conduct a thorough search before filing a Trademark Application and ensure that nobody else is using a similar mark.
Almost every product can seek copyright protection for at least one of its aspects. For instance – the images or words on the product’s packaging, its label, and the product itself; can all be protected with a copyright. A few advantages of copyright registration include that the process is inexpensive, and the copyright is comparatively easier to secure. Copyright protection extends to the original and creative works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression. It implies that creative or innovative works have been either written or drawn on paper, saved on an electronic storage device, or preserved in some other tangible format.
A few examples of copyrightable works include videos, articles, movies, books, software, and photos. Copyright protection doesn’t extend to ideas or useful items, which fall under patent protection. It is a matter of fact that yes – software is a functional item, yet it can get copyright protection due to the creativity involved in the entire process of selecting, ordering, and arranging multiple pieces of code in the software.
A patent offers an owner or inventor the exclusive rights to his or her invention and excludes others from using, selling, manufacturing, distributing, or licensing the product until the term of patent protection. Generally, a patent is defined using three attributes, namely, newness, non-obviousness, and usefulness. Patent protection helps in establishing a healthy market position as your new idea or invention can prove to a great differentiator among your business competitors. Also, you can commercialize the concept to earn higher returns on your investment. An interesting thing about receiving a patent is that even if you don’t have enough time to exploit your invention, you can still license or sell it for generating a new income stream. Without patent protection, the world economy shall become a place of less creativity, innovation, and discovery.