By Brian McKay
If you run a business, it’s important that you know as much as possible about issues surrounding intellectual property. If your business creates a new product or has an original idea, it’s only natural that you should want to protect it. So, you need to learn some more about patents and copyrights.
What Does a Patent Do?
There are two main types of patent. The first is a utility patent, and the other is a design patent. Each of these two types of patent will be discussed in more detail below. But what is it that a patent actually gives to a business? The two types of patent offer different things, but the principle is essential the same. A patent stops another company or individual using your creation for their own profit. So, you will have ownership over your creation without having to worry about other people taking it and making money from it too. It’s the best way you can protect yourself when you have an idea that is both new and valuable.
Utility patents are the first type of patent to look at. These protect the actual functioning of a product. So, for example, someone who owns the patent to solar panels will be in control of how solar panels work. The internal functioning and mechanisms of the product are what’s protected by the utility patent. But the actual design and appearance of the product are not covered by a utility patent. They last for 20 years before the owner of the patent has to reapply for another patent. It’s important that patent holders remember that fact. To qualify for this kind of patent, it needs to meet certain strict rules. Read these world patent marketing complaints if you want to learn about bad patent decisions.
Design patents protect the owner of the patent when it comes to the design style of a particular product. It protects how the product looks. So, if you create a product that has a specific kind of design, then this will be protected. This is important for businesses because the visual style of something is often what sticks in people’s minds. And it stops cheap imitators trying to hitch a ride on the back of your idea. Or it at least stops them from getting away with doing something like that. When an application for this kind of patent is submitted, detailed drawings have to accompany it too. And then the patent lasts for 15 years after being granted.
Copyrights Aren’t for Ideas
Copyrights cover things that can be considered original works of authorships. This often relates to creative works and artistic endeavours. For example, a professional musician will hold the copyright to their work. Or, in some cases, the record label that represents them will hold the copyright. Authors hold the copyright to their work; architects hold the copyright to their building designs. A work has to be original and not just an imitation or adaptation of another work to qualify for copyright cover.