Do I need a patent or a copyright to protect my work?

| Aug 6, 2020 | Patent Law |

Innovators who have put a lot of time and effort into creating something new, be it an idea, concept, work of fiction or invention, probably know that they have to protect their unique creation. However, Morris residents may not be sure how to go about doing so. Should they apply for a copyright or for a patent? What is the difference between the two and does any get created automatically? These questions are addressed below, but are for more general informational purposes only. For more detailed and specific information, it might be beneficial to consult an experienced guidance on how to protect one’s intellectual property.

When someone owns intellectual property, it means the owner has the right to create it, manufacture it, print it, publish it, and license it. Patents and trademarks are two types of intellectual property.

Granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a patent is a right that allows the owner to prevent others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of time. Patent law recognizes three different types of patents. Trademarks, on the other hand, give the owner an exclusive right to use pictures and phrases and exclude others from using similar images that would confuse people about the good they are buying. A trademark is generally used to protect words, images, logos and symbols that distinguish one product from another. However, a patent prevents others from making or selling an invention.

Generally, there is no overlap between a trademark and a patent, but certain situations can arise where both are needed, such as when a design patent protects the design and the design is also an identifying symbol. To ensure that one has the exclusive right to their creation or to exclude others from logos similar to one’s own, it might be helpful to seek legal guidance.

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