By Cathy Musselman, Entrepreneur Specialist
With the growing trend of entrepreneurs and innovators, we are witnessing a significant growth of technology based companies in the U.S. According to an article in USA Today, “The tech sector enjoyed the widest operating profit margin of any sector within the S&P 500 index in the third quarter of 2013, at roughly 16%.” This being said, the importance of protecting your Intellectual Property should be a top priority.
What is Intellectual Property? Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. IP is divided into two categories: Industrial Property and Copyright.
Industrial Property includes patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.
- Patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. It provides the patent owner with the right to decide how or whether the invention can be used by others.
- Trademark “™” “®” is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one company from those of other companies.
- Industrial Design refers to the ornamental or aesthetic aspects of an article.
- 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.
Copyright “©”is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. This includes novels, poems, plays, music, art works, films, television programs, computer programs, advertisement, technical drawings, and architectural designs.
For more information on Intellectual Property Law, go to the Small Business Administration website at http://www.sba.gov/content/intellectual-property-law.