There are four kinds of intellectual property (IP) in the world. The first kind of IP is the patent, which is applied by inventors to secure the rights to their physical inventions, designs, and processes. The second one is the copyright, which gives exclusive rights to the creator of any literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work.
The third kind of IP is the trademark, which includes symbols, phrases, or logos registered by companies to distinguish their products and services from other businesses. And the last one is the trade secret, which includes any company’s confidential information that works as their competitive edge.
All these different kinds of intellectual property can be protected by their owners, provided that they undergo the complete process as stated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). But while almost anyone can apply to protect their rights, certain things aren’t common knowledge.
Before you go ahead and tell the world about the discovery or invention that you’ve made, consider securing your IP rights first. This is because you’ll never know if people are waiting for you to slip up and take credit for all your hard work. Here are some facts that you should know about IP:
Securing Your IP Rights Should Be Priority Number One
Any idea, design, or process that you make has the potential to change your life, but only if you protect it as your own. By securing the rights to your intellectual property, you’re letting the world know that this specific idea, design, or process exists because you—and no one else—made it possible.
Many people believe that applying for their rights can be done later because all that paperwork is time-consuming, but that could come at the cost of losing their intangible assets and capital. For instance, if you’re a business owner with a software solution that you’ve begun offering to the market.
You already have your logo, brand name, and domain name, as well as finished registering your business with the local authorities. However, you did not secure the rights to your intellectual property before entering the market, which means that your assets could still be taken from under you.
If someone else took and secured the rights to your idea, you could be facing infringement issues or be made to pay the costs of damages. To add to that, you can lose more money if you have to recall all your publicity materials and be forced to re-brand because you no longer have the right to use your trademarks.
When this happens, you will need a dependable intellectual property lawyer who can defend your case and make sure that you get the justice you deserve. They could also help you secure your intellectual property rights to avoid this from ever happening again in the future.
Familiarize Yourself with the Costs of Securing Your Rights
The costs of securing your rights will depend on the kind of intellectual property you wish to protect. Aside from the application, there could also be maintenance costs for IP such as patents because they have periodic renewal fees, which can easily accumulate tens of thousands of dollars over the patent’s lifetime.
That’s actually why there are inventors who abandon their applications or jump ship before they complete the process because they realized that they can’t afford the costs of protecting their intellectual property. In some cases, investors might try to sell their IP or find third-party investors.
Some people secure a very limited patent coverage to keep the overall costs down, but this can compromise the security of their patents in the process. It’s important to note that it can take at least 22 months to five years for a patent to be fully approved and granted issued rights.
During this process, it’s possible to lose control of your IP rights if your intangible assets are leaked before you get the chance to secure them. But having the patent-pending status can certainly give you an upper hand compared to if you had no current applications at all.
Unfortunately, you can’t sue would-be infringers for a pending patent application, but you can take legal action once your patent has been granted. You may be able to maximize your potential recoverable damages if you can secure a copy of your published patent application and have it sent to infringers.
Securing the rights to your intellectual property may be a long and winding journey, but it’s definitely worth the uphill battle. Leaving your intangible assets vulnerable to theft is like placing yourself in a den of conniving wolves. So, do what you can to secure your IP rights, and don’t let the thieves take credit for all your hard work.