As a company owner, you may have accrued numerous assets after years in business. You may own real estate—to include your business site—company vehicles, a large amount of office property and inventory, and other investments that relate to your industry. What about intellectual property though? You, your business partners, and independent contractors working for you either temporarily or long-term may be busy creating items that are truly some of your most valuable assets, and they must be protected.
As you begin producing different types of work, innovations, and perhaps even major inventions, you may be confused about what security measures you need to take, and how to do so; however, with the expert legal assistance of a firm like Bolender Law Firm, you will have a better understanding of your options regarding materials, negotiating licenses, preparing applications for registration, and more.
The terms copyright and trademark are sometimes used interchangeably, but they actually denote very different types of intellectual property law, along with patents. We’ve included brief information regarding each, so you can think about what may apply to your needs, and what type of protection your intellectual property requires:
- Copyrights – whether you are applying for your own or asking permission to use a copyright assigned to another entity, this grants exclusive rights to the creator of an expression of art, whether that may be a book or a screenplay, software, music, or more. Copyrights are covered for a period of 95 years if they were published after 1922, but before 1987. If they were developed but not actually published before 1978, the work is covered for the lifetime of the creator, and an additional 70 years after that.
- Trademarks – this type of intellectual property protection becomes critical when you are creating a brand. By registering a trademark (such as a logo), you allow your company and its products to be distinguished from that of the competition; likewise, the service mark denotes the services you offer.
- Patents – this license is reserved to grant exclusive rights for inventions—usually for about 20 years from the time of application. During that timeframe, others may not manufacture the invention for their own purposes, use it, or sell it.