As a small business owner, you came up with a great slogan and business name, like Vitaqure, and now you want to make sure no one steals your brilliance. What does it take to register your information? Do you need a patent, or is it a copyright or trademark? If these questions boggle your mind, you may want to read on and find out more about registering your name.
Going to the patent office to register a patent may be overwhelming if you do not know what you are doing, so if you go in knowing as much as you can, you can avoid much of the confusion. First of all, the definition of a patent is a type of intellectual property. Basically, by registering your product under a patent, you are allowed to claim it as your intellectual property as long as it follows many particular requirements, including novelty and non-obviousness. You are allowed a term of protection that lasts for a minimum of 20 years, so your ideas are protected for that amount of time.
When should you register a trademark or service mark? A trademark is for identifying the place from where goods originate. A service mark identifies the source of services, not goods. Depending on what you are attempting to register, you will need either a trademark or a service mark, although when talking about marks in general, the word “trademark” is used to talk about both types. By registering for a trademark, you get many advantages, including being able to publicly show your claim of ownership by using the mark. You will also be able to take someone to court if necessary because they are violating the terms of a trademark registration.
Copyright is necessary when you write a type of work that you consider as authored by you. This includes music, poetry, art, and books. As long as you have created it, you are at liberty to copyright it. Copyright does not cover intangible intellectual property such as facts or ideas. However, it may cover the way you express an idea or fact.
Copyright protection begins as soon as your work is created and put into a tangible format, such as writing it down, typing it up, recording it, or painting it. You do not have to register a copyright unless you feel you must, as registration is voluntary and you are protected as soon as the work is made. However, if you must take legal action against someone for using your idea, you must have your work copyrighted.
In building a small business from the ground up, you will come across many ideas and inventions that you will feel require protection. Be sure you acquire business insurance immediately. Having your work patent protected and your business protected will keep your company safe.