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Protect Your Ideas With Copyrights and Patents

February 29th, 2012

: Can you tell me the distinction between a copyright and a patent? Also is that some thing I ought to let a lawyer handle for me?

A: A wise man as soon as said, “The greatest difference between a copyright and a patent is the number of lawyers it takes to do the paperwork.” There is a point to be created there, mainly that if this wise man had paid his attorney to copyright that tidbit of wisdom I most likely would have had to pay him five bucks to use the quote.

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Copyrights, trademarks and patents are comparable in that they are designed by law to protect your rights of ownership, but that’s where the similarity ends. A copyright protects a creative work a trademark protects a brand or firm identity and a patent protects an invention or process.

A copyright protects the rights of any person who creates an “original work of authorship.” A copyright owner has the exclusive proper to reproduce the function prepare spin-off works based on the copyrighted work and to sell, perform and/or display the copyrighted function in public.

Copyright protection is afforded to eight categories of creative works: literary works (the written word) musical works (lyrics, music, melodies) dramatic works (plays, scripts, screenplays) artistic works (pictorial and sculptural), sound recordings (LPs, CDs, audio tapes) choreographic works (dance, pantomime) audiovisual works and architectural works (blueprints, designs, renderings).

An original work is automatically copyrighted the moment it is put into a fixed format such as a paper copy or recording. In other words, when you put your original story in writing or make a recording of an original song, your copyright is automatically secured. From that moment on your function has copyright protection for your lifetime, plus 50 years right after your death.

Registering a work with the U.S. Copyright Office is not necessary, but considering that it is fairly basic and affordable to do so, I advise that you register a copyright for each function you wish to protect. Also, your copyright must be registered in order to take legal action against an individual who may well infringe on the copyright in the future.

You can register a copyright without having the assistance of an attorney. Merely pay a visit to the U.S. Copyright office web site at http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/ and download the suitable form. Total the form and send it in with a nonrefundable filing fee. This need to be accomplished for every individual work you wish to safeguard.

A patent is a form of protection granted to an inventor that protects his invention in the United States for up to 20 years from the date of application. Patent law states that, “whoever invents or discovers any new and beneficial method, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or any new and useful improvements thereof might acquire a patent.” Owning a patent gives you the legal correct to quit an individual else from generating, using or selling your invention (or 1 that’s extremely close to it) with out your permission. Even so, proving that somebody is infringing on your patent is typically hard and normally requires a trial to settle the dispute.

Given that the very first U.S. patent was awarded in 1790, far more than five million patents have been awarded. The patent office receives far more than 230,000 patent applications each year and I can tell you from individual expertise that a turtle on Prozac moves quicker than the patent method. Patents can take numerous years, truckloads of paperwork, and considerable legal fees to acquire. The price of obtaining a patent can run from for a easy style patent to ,000 and a lot more for a complex utility patent. Even so, if your firm has a truly patentable notion, you would be wise to invest the time and cash needed to secure your rights. A very good patent can be a valuable enterprise asset.

While you can file a patent yourself, I strongly advise that you use an attorney given that a naively written patent application frequently isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Just recently my attorney did a patent search for me only to discover that a patent for a similar product was already in place. However, due to the ineffectual language of the patent application, the patent was practically impossible for the owner to enforce.

Great news for me. Not so good news for the wise man who wrote his own patent.

Here’s to your success!

Tim Knox tim@dropshipwholesale.net

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