The world of intellectual property can be pretty complicated. You might not know whether a copyright, trademark, or patent is right for your situation, which can make the filing process a nightmare. To help you figure out which type of intellectual property you need, here is an overview of the big three:
First of all, you have copyrights, which cover a wide variety of different works. The unifying theme is that a copyright protects the rights of the creator an original work. It protects both the right to use the work and the right to distribute that work.
In almost every case, a copyright is used to protect a creative work, such as a book, movie, or song. The length of a copyright varies based on when the copyright was filed, but you can expect it to last the lifetime of the creator plus an additional period of time, often 70 years.
One of the biggest problems that you might find with a copyright is enforcing it overseas. While copyrights tend to be standardized and universally applicable within a country and between certain countries, you might find that some countries do not honor your copyright. This could potentially lead to problems with distribution and getting the money and recognition that you deserve.
Next you have trademarks, which are essentially used for brand recognition. You can trademark a symbol, name, word, or some other similar device, but you do have to meet some pretty strict requirements.
Your trademark must be pretty unique in the field that you are filing, so you can't create a fruit company named Mango and then expect to get a copyright on that name. However, if you were to take that same name and move it to a category that was unrelated to fruits, such as the technology industry, then you could easily file a trademark for a company named Mango.
Finally, you have patents, which work a bit differently than the other two. Patents essentially exist to protect the rights of inventors, allowing them to profit from their work. Patents are very common nowadays and are easy to acquire, but you do need to be aware of limited duration.
In many cases, patents run out in 20 years, which means that you will lose exclusive rights to your invention at that point. You will need to capitalize on your invention in that 20 years, or else you will lose the opportunity to make money and grow your brand.
To make the filing process easier, visit a local law office that specializes in intellectual property, such as Lingbeck Law Office.