15 Sep Intellectual Property: Trademarks, Copyrights & Patents
Venture Capitalist works with many talented entrepreneurs that create and innovate. We encourage each and every one of them to protect their intellectual property. Have you ever wondered why the investors on Shark Tank always ask entrepreneurs if they have a patent on their product? They understand the value of intellectual property. It creates a barrier of entry into the market and rewards creativity and human endeavor, which fuel the progress of humankind.
There are many reasons to protect your intellectual property. First, without legal protection, there would be no incentive for people to create and invent new things. Second, the legal protection of new creations encourages the commitment of additional resources for further innovation. Third, the promotion and protection of intellectual property spurs economic growth, creates new jobs and industries, and enhances the quality and enjoyment of life.
What are some kinds of intellectual Property?
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention – a product or process that provides a new way of doing something, or that offers a new technical solution to a problem.
A patent provides patent owners with protection for their inventions. Protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years.
A trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies certain goods or services produced or provided by an individual or a company. Its origin dates back to ancient times when craftsmen reproduced their signatures, or “marks”, on their artistic works or products of a functional or practical nature. Over the years, these marks have evolved into today’s system of trademark registration and protection. The system helps consumers to identify and purchase a product or service based on whether its specific characteristics and quality – as indicated by its unique trademark – meet their needs.
An industrial design refers to the ornamental or aesthetic aspects of an article. A design may consist of three-dimensional figures, such as the shape or surface of an article, or two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color.
Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of industrial products and handicrafts: from technical and medical instruments to watches, jewelry and other luxury items; from house wares and electrical appliances to vehicles and architectural structures; from textile designs to leisure goods.
To be protected under most national laws, an industrial design must be new or original and non-functional. This means that an industrial design is primarily of an aesthetic nature, and any technical features of the article to which it is applied are not protected by the design registration. However, those features could be protected by a patent.
A geographical indication is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation due to that place of origin. Most commonly, a geographical indication consists of the name of the place of origin of the goods. Agricultural products typically have qualities that derive from their place of production and are influenced by specific local geographical factors, such as climate and soil. Whether a sign functions as a geographical indication is a matter of national law and consumer perception. Geographical indications may be used for a wide variety of agricultural products, such as, for example, “Tuscany” for olive oil produced in a specific area of Italy, or “Roquefort” for cheese produced in that region of France.
The use of geographical indications is not limited to agricultural products. They may also highlight specific qualities of a product that are due to human factors found in the product’s place of origin, such as specific manufacturing skills and traditions. The place of origin may be a village or town, a region or a country. An example of the latter is “Switzerland” or “Swiss”, perceived as a geographical indication in many countries for products made in Switzerland and, in particular, for watches.
Copyright laws grant authors, artists and other creators protection for their literary and artistic creations, generally referred to as “works”. A closely associated field is “related rights” or rights related to copyright that encompass rights similar or identical to those of copyright, although sometimes more limited and of shorter duration. The beneficiaries of related rights are:
– Performers (such as actors and musicians) in their performances;
– Producers of phonograms (for example, compact discs) in their sound recordings; and
– Broadcasting organizations in their radio and television programs.
Works covered by copyright include, but are not limited to: novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspapers, advertisements, computer programs, databases, films, musical compositions, choreography, paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architecture, maps and technical drawings.
We believe that entrepreneurs have every right to benefit from and protect their creations. Venture Capitalist can help you protect and commercialize your intellectual property. Contact us today.