Very simply put, intellectual property (IP) in the context of a business or even personal matters has the same significance as physical property, whether it is real estate, a vehicle, or a piece of equipment. If you are an intellectual property owner, you should protect your rights.
While most people instinctively know how to lock their car or build a fence around their plot of land, not everyone knows whether and/or how to protect his IP. This multi-part blog series is designed to: help define IP, give you a better understanding of patents, introduce some common patent procedures, and provide you with some overall resources regarding patents and patenting.
How is IP defined?
Just like other kinds of property, intellectual property needs to be protected from unauthorized use. The first step is to define your IP. In the US, there are four definitions and ways to protect different types of intellectual property:
Utility patents protect useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture, and compositions of matter. Some examples: fiber optics, computer hardware, medications.
Design patents guard the unauthorized use of new, original, and ornamental designs for articles of manufacture. The look of an athletic shoe, a bicycle helmet, the Star Wars characters are all protected by design patents.
Plant patents are the way we protect invented or discovered asexually reproduced plant varieties. Hybrid tea roses, Silver Queen corn, Better Boy tomatoes are all types of plant patents.
A good overview of IP can be found at: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ahrpa/opa/museum/1intell.htm
*Haim Factor is a registered USPTO Patent Agent with nearly a decade of experience in patent drafting, prosecution, and overall IP strategies. His clients take advantage of his rich experience of over 25 years in business development of a wide array of B2B and B2C products and his experience with intellectual property protection both within the US and internationally.
He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and at 302.200.1424.