The ownership of intangible ideas and creations is often difficult to protect, especially in an age where almost anyone can download and redistribute them with little fear of reprisal. However, individuals and businesses that own such properties can do much more than they might realize to protect them.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce notes that some companies are likely unaware of how to use copyright laws, especially when it comes to intellectual property. While choosing a certain type of copyright might be daunting, especially for small business owners, learning about each and how they operate may help them make the most informed decision possible.
Some business owners may believe that patents only cover tangible inventions, but they also protect intellectual property. These can include a variety of IPs, including:
- Production processes
- Computer algorithms
- Designs for new products
Patents can protect intellectual property in several ways, covering both the idea behind a design and its visual aspects once completed, such as blueprints or drafted drawings.
Although trademark designs are a visual representation of a company, with some immediately recognizable, they still stand as intellectual property. A company that wishes to retain all the rights to a symbol or product brand might consider registering it so that no other company can claim it for use. While not all trademarks carry a registry, the extra protection may offer creators greater peace of mind.
No matter the nature of the intellectual property, a copyright can protect it from theft by other companies or individuals. This applies to ideas and concepts both released and unreleased. Like trademarks, registered copyrights better protect IPs and their creators’ rights.
Copyright infringement of intellectual property remains a concern for many companies. The Copyright Claims Board may offer assistance to owners of IPs who have an infringement complaint.