The term “intellectual property” refers broadly to ideas and concepts which are unique and potentially useful. It includes invention or work of fiction and who (or which entity) holds these ideas or concepts. If you own intellectual property, that means you are entitled to make or license a creation, make use of specific marks on your packaging or advertising or publish copies of creative works (for example, sound recordings or books). Businesses and individuals can also license their possession of the intellectual property once they have done the trademark registration, copyright registration, and received patenting rights.
The different kinds of intellectual property (IP) are copyrights, patents and trademarks. Although the three IP types are very different, they are often misleading. A brief description, including a brief discussion about how these forms of IP are different from each other and how one can leverage its power after proper understanding.
A copyright is a set of rights that you will automatically receive when an original work has been created. It’s helpful to analogize them to a package of sticks to understand how those rights can be used or licensed, where each stick represents a separate right that you own. Such rights include the right of reproduction, the preparation of derivatives, the dissemination of copies, public performance and the publication of the work.
As a copyright owner, you have the power to retain any ‘bindings,’ transfer them individually or pass them to one or more individuals or one or more individuals collectively. This can be done by licensing, assigning, and other moving methods. You may pick the way your work is made public by the power of Copyright.
What is Patent?
The primary purpose of the patent law is to promote innovation and the commercialization of technological advances. Patent law allows inventors to make their inventions freely accessible in return for certain exclusive rights. A patent covers innovations. These innovations may include new and useful methods, equipment, processing, material compositions, and improvements. Any computer programs can be subject to patent and copyright protection. The patent system compliments the protection of Copyright in this respect by protecting functional aspects of the software that are not under Copyright.
In contrast to copyright protection, to obtain patent protection, a patent ideator must first apply for the Patent to be granted. The process of a patent application is costly, complicated, stressful, and time-consuming unlike the registration of Copyright. It should typically not be attempted without the help of an experienced patent lawyer or agent.
A trademark is a name, term, emblem, and design that can define and distinguishes the source of one company’s products from others. A trademark is a word, sentence, symbol, and/or design that identifies the source of a service and not the goods. For example, brand names, slogans, and logos. (The word ‘mark’ is also used for both trademarks and service marks as a whole.) As with Copyright, an individual does not require registration of a trademark or service mark to obtain security rights. However, the trademark registration does have some legal advantages. The overlap between trademark and copyright law is rare. Still, it can occur — for example, if a graphic illustration is used as a logo, both copyright- and trademark design can be protected.
How Patent differs from the Copyright
Where a patent covers inventions of new technologies, except a design patent, Copyright protects original published or unpublished works, including works of literature, art, software, and choreography. As an owner of patents, the right to reproduce, produce derivatives, distribute copies, show the work in a public space or do the work in public shall be the exclusive right for the owner of the Copyright.
In some instances, the intellectual property rights for business having both a copyright and a patent may be granted. In cases where the ornamental design applies both for patents and as a work of art subject to copyrighted material, there may be a superposition, for example, between patent designs and Copyright.
Differentiating between the Trademark and a Patent
Patents prohibit certain people from creating or selling a product. Still, trademarks protect from the use of certain rival names, phrases, images, logos, and other tools used to distinguish the origin of the products or services. Trademarks provide the owner with the exclusive use of such symbols and phrases and the right to prohibit anyone from using a similar mark that confuses consumers who created the products or services the customer purchased.
In the case of design patents that protect the decorative design of the product and also use the design as an identifying symbol, it may usually not overlap, but both trademarks and patent protection can apply.
The Bottom line:
Intellectual property protection is a complex process which evolves at each stage of its life cycle, whether through innovation, research or growth. Therefore, there can be a patentable element, a patented artistic angle, and a specified product source for a single product.