How Can Business Owners Protect Their IP?

  • Posted on: Feb 22 2021
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One of the most important things when creating a business is to protect your business from others making money off of your ideas. In this rapidly evolving tech world that we find ourselves in, it’s important to protect all of our intellectual property rights. You can do so by filing for all necessary copyrights, trademarks, and patents. 

Protect Authored Works with Copyrights

When we take the time to author something, be it a song, poem, book, film, computer software, or the like, a copyright can provide us with legal protection to make exclusive copies of our work. When we author something, our work is automatically protected under copyright law. However, without proof it can be very difficult to know who authored something first. Your ability to take action against someone who uses your work will be much more limited than if you formally register your copyright. In order to obtain a registered copyright for your work you must register one with a division of the Library of Congress called the U.S. Copyright Office. 

But how long does a copyright protect your work? If an individual created the work in question, the work will be protected for the life of the author, plus an additional 70 years. However, when a work is created for hire, pseudonymously, or anonymously, the copyright will last for 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of its creation – whichever period is shorter. 

Protect Brand Identity with Trademarks

There are many things to think about when you build a brand. From the name of your product and/or business to designs, symbols, logos, and phrases, there are a variety of things that help to differentiate your brand from all others. 

While it’s not required that you obtain a trademark, it affords you greater protection as it provides you with a legal presumption of ownership and an established date of protection. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is where you would go to register a trademark, which will give you the right to use the ® symbol after your trademarked mark.  

Unlike copyrights, trademarks rights do not expire after a specific period of time. Instead, they are based upon actual usage of the property in question. In other words, a trademark will remain good so long as it continues to be in use (and you pay the necessary fees when and where applicable).

Protect Your Inventions with Patents

Arguably the most difficult type of intellectual property protection to obtain is a patent. Patents are used to protect inventions and like trademarks, are also granted by the USPTO. Since patents protect inventions, once you are granted a patent, no one else can profit from using your invention without your permission. There are two types of patents: design patents and utility patents. Design patents protect your invention for 15 years from the date that the patent was issued (assuming it was filed on or after May 13, 2015). Alternately, utility patents, which protect the function of your invention, will protect your invention for 20 years from the date that you filed the patent application.

The Law Offices of Brian L. Fox, APLC Help those Who Wish to Protect Their Businesses

If you are a business owner, it’s important that you do all you can to protect your business from others who wish to copy aspects of it and profit off of it. While intellectual property is extremely important for businesses, the respective applications for it can be extremely in-depth and confusing. That’s why it is helpful to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Virginia Business Law Attorney.

At the Law Offices of Brian L. Fox, APLC, we know how important it is to protect that for which you’ve worked so hard. We will help you to obtain the protection that you need. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Business Law