Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
If you've got a great idea, you want to make sure no one else has already come up with it, and that no one will steal it later. There are a series of statutes, rules, and regulations that can protect your intellectual property rights, and they can work in different ways.
For instance, your invention may not be eligible for patent protection if someone else, unbeknownst to you, already filed a similar patent. But you may not even need to file your copyright in order to receive legal protection. Here's a closer look at the timelines for copyright and patent filings.
Patents protect you -- and your invention -- from others from making, selling, or using the invention for a period of time. Patent protection can cover anything from machines and manufactured objects to chemicals, processes, and even the invention and reproduction of new and distinct plant varieties. To qualify for a patent, the invention must be "novel," "non-obvious," and "useful."
Additionally, you must apply for a patent within one year of publicly disclosing the invention, and you may not be eligible for a patent if someone else has already patented a substantially similar product. So, you (and your lawyer) will need to conduct a preliminary patent search with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before applying for a patent.
It may take two years or more for the patent office to rule on the application, and most design patents last for 14 years. So you should apply for a patent as soon as possible.
Copyrights, on the other hand, don't always require the same procedure to protect authors, artists, and other creators of original works from someone else copying and profiting from their work. Under the current U.S. copyright laws, a creative work receives copyright protection as soon as it is fixed into a tangible form. And while copyright registration and notice of copyright are not conditions to legal protection, the process can offer a variety of advantages:
Also, copyright registration may be essential if you're interested in licensing your work to someone else.
Don't wait too late to file for a patent or copyright protection -- talk to an experienced intellectual property attorney today.