You are not required to formally register a patent, trademark or copyright, but doing so provides you with added legal protection. Depending on the nature of your business, you may never face a patent need, but you almost certainly will have trademark and copyright intellectual property; you can choose to register either, neither or both.
For example, if you own a carpet cleaning business, your brochure might include a non-registered trademark next to your business name, a registered trademark next to your Patent Office-approved and registered carpet cleaning machine name, the words “patent pending” under a diagram of your new machine and a copyright notice at the end of your brochure protecting all of your original copy within it.
Patent, copyright, and trademark; three legal terms that appear alike yet couldn’t be more unique. A Miami trademark attorney firm like Lhota and Associates usually handles issues regarding all three. For a better understanding of the terms and how each works, it’s important to know what they’re actually used for.
First is the patent; the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines it as a limited duration property right in exchange for public disclosure. By “limited duration,” it means that a patent can only exist for 20 years and can only be effective within a country and its territories. If you invented an energy reactor that can run on anything, you can file a patent for it and receive the rights to the invention.
Next up is the copyright; the USPTO defines it as a form of protection on the works of authorship. This encompasses novels, songs, and other works of art. However, take note that the USPTO doesn’t handle copyrights; that task falls under the U.S. Copyright Office, a division of the Library of Congress. A copyright allows the owner to distribute copies of his work and perform the work in question, among others.
Last but not the least is the trademark; the USPTO defines it as any word, phrase, or symbol that defines a company or brand. For example, Coca-Cola and Coke are trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company; not all trademarks require federal registration, but doing so gives the owner advantages such as the right to ownership. A Florida trademark attorney can handle issues arising from any disputes to the words or phrases defining your product or company.