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Why Protecting Your Intellectual Property Matters

intellectual propertyHave you ever wondered how to copyright your intellectual property? Patent your design? Trademark your idea? Do you know the process for protecting your work, how much it would cost, or how long it lasts?

Doug Duff, legal counsel for Ice Miller Litigation and Intellectual Property Group, answered all of these questions and more at SunDown RunDown’s monthly Lunch and Launch. His presentation, “Why Protecting Your Intellectual Property Matters” was held on September 25, 2014 at Innovate New Albany.

Doug led an informative discussion on the basic facts entrepreneurs need to know about copyrights, trademarks, utility patents and design patents.

Copyright

Doug told the group that a copyright is available to authors of original work that are written or recorded. The duration of the copyright is the life of the author plus 70 years. If you create a work, you have common law rights over it and are not required to register it. However, if someone infringes on your copyright, you can register the work with the U.S. Copyright office to go after the infringer. The registration cost is $35-$45.

Trademark

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, design or a combination that distinguishes the source of goods from others. A service mark or trademark protects your brand and the good will of your company, while also protecting the consumer. When your product or service is trademarked, consumers can feel confident that they are buying the brand they think they are. The cost of registering a trademark runs anywhere between $275 and $325.

Utility Patents

Utility patentsmake up 90% of the patents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).This covers machines, articles of manufacture, process, composition of matter and any proof thereof,” when it should actually say that it covers “machines, articles of manufacture, process, composition of matter and any improvement thereof. There are no common law rights to invention, so all patents must be granted by the USPTO. Depending on the type of application and the size of your business, utility patent fees can run anywhere from $115 to $1600.

Design Patents

Doug said design patents are growing in popularity, and protect new, original and ornamental design embodied in or applied to an article of manufacture. The duration of a design patent is 14 years from the grant date.

Doug cited several examples of each type of protection, and answered several questions from the group.

For more information about protecting your intellectual property with copyrights, trademarks or patents, contact Doug at 614-462-1060 or douglas.duff@icemiller.com.

Laurie Zinn is a Columbus-based freelance writer and owner of Line-By-Line. She helps businesses communicate with their customers through website content, blog articles, email marketing campaigns and social media. For more information about Line-By-Line, visit http://line-by-line.us or contact Laurie at laurie@line-by-line.us.

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