Innovation is an important part of success in any marketplace. Those who have a solid idea or invention are wise to take steps to protect it, otherwise they risk losing out to a competitor.
How do I protect my invention or idea?
There are couple of different ways to protect this idea or invention. If you are an entrepreneur going out on your own, business experts often encourage taking the time to incorporate your business. Depending on which business structure you choose, this can help to protect the idea or invention while also separating out your personal and professional assets. It can serve as a type of shield to keep creditors from going after your personal assets.
The next step is to explore different intellectual property (IP) protection tools. The following provides some basic information about the more common options:
- Patent. A patent provides federal protection for the invention or idea. Once approved, those who have a patent can challenge any competitor who tries to use the same idea or invention. This can result in a court ordered injunction that can stop the competitor’s attempts as well as monetary damages to make up for lost revenue as a result of the competitor’s actions.
- Copyright. Once registered, the owner of the copyrightable works can enforce their ownership over the copyrighted material. This can include works of art and software.
- Trademark. This protection applies to any name, word, symbol, or device used by your business for the goods or services it offers.
Each of these forms of IP serve an important role within a successful business. An attorney experienced in IP protections can review your business plan and provide guidance on the best way to make sure your ideas and inventions are protected.