If you are a business owner, you have intellectual property (IP). Your logo, your business name, all of your written materials (printed and online), all of your communications, all of the products you have invented–all of that is your intellectual property.
When ensuring protection for your IP, remember that there are three types of protection in the U.S.:
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues patents for twenty years for the property rights to invention for something “new and useful”. Patent grants are effective only in the United States and its territories and possessions; but anyone in the world can apply for U.S. patent protection for their invention.
A trademark is a brand name in the form of a name, word, symbol, or design intended for use in commerce to identify and distinguish the products of one person or group from another. A service mark is a similar protection for identifying and protecting the services of one provider from others.
The U.S. Library of Congress issues copyright protection to authors of music, writing, works of art, etc. A copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. There is no such thing as an “international copyright”, but the U.S. has reciprocal copyright relations with several countries.
To find out more about protecting your intellectual properties, in the U.S., log onto the StopFakes.gov site. For Canadians, information about protecting your IP can be found at the website of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
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