Many people in Texas earn a living by operating self-owned companies. If you’re a business owner, it can be understandably frustrating to suspect that another company ripped off the intellectual property of your business. Here are the four main types of intellectual property and the protections they offer.
One of the most popular ways to claim intellectual property is by obtaining a trademark for it. A trademark can be a design, catchphrase, word, or symbol that differentiates your company or what it offers apart from the competition.
Issued by the government, a patent gets filed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. You can file a patent for either an invention or a new method of accomplishing something. In most cases, patents allow an invention to remain protected for a maximum period of 20 years.
Another type of intellectual property is a trade secret, which is any information that gives a company an edge over its competitors. Common types of trade secrets include secrets formulas, recipes, or self-made programs. Most companies have employees sign non-disclosure agreements to protect their secrets.
Lastly, there are also copyrights. This type of intellectual property typically has to do with written work. However, it can also include any musical or artistic work. Trademarks last for 70 years after the copyright creator’s death.
With several ways to protect intellectual property, understanding your rights can get a little confusing. If you need help deciding what to do after a person or company violated your intellectual property, consider contacting a trademark and copyright attorney. With an attorney in your corner, you’ll potentially learn the best way to proceed with your claim.