How can Colorado businesses protect their intellectual property?

In order to prevent the theft of their ideas, creations and businesses, it is important for people to understand how to protect their intellectual property.

Inventors, artists, business owners and others often trade on their creations. If their ideas are unprotected, others may copy or steal them and present them as their own. This may take profits away from them and jeopardize their reputations and brands. Therefore, it is important for people in Colorado and elsewhere to understand how to protect their intellectual property.

What is intellectual property?

Generally, intellectual property is the creations of people's minds. This may include writings, works of art and inventions, as well as signs, slogans and names. According to the World Trade Organization, through intellectual property rights, people may have exclusive right to their ideas and creations for a certain period of time. Depending on the type of intellectual property they are seeking to protect, the methods they might employ vary.

Copyrights

One method that people may use to protect their intellectual property is to secure a copyright. Copyrights protect original artistic and literary works, according to STOPfakes.gov. This may include literary, musical, dramatic, artistic and other works.

Copyrights provide protection to these forms of art whether they are published or not. By obtaining copyright protection, people may have grounds to take legal action against those who use their intellectual property without their permission.

Patents

Patents are another method that may be employed to safeguard intellectual property. STOPfakes.gov points out that those who invent or discover any machine, composition of matter, manufacture or process that is new and useful may be able to obtain a patent. Through a utility, design or plant patent, people's inventions and discoveries may be legally theirs alone. Therefore, only they, or those to whom they grant permission, can use these inventions for a certain period of time.

Trademarks

Often, people's brands are just as important as their ideas, goods and services. Through a trademark, they may be able to protect their business names. This is because this legal protection ensures that others cannot sell the same product as them under the same name. Trademarks are applicable to names, words, colors, sounds and symbols associated with businesses and brands.

Seek legal counsel

The theft of intellectual property may result in lost revenue, lost employment and a damaged reputation for people in Colorado, and elsewhere. This may affect their businesses' bottom lines and futures. Therefore, people who have developed literary or artistic works, made a discovery or invention, or developed a successful brand may benefit from obtaining legal representation. An attorney may help them understand their options for protecting their intellectual property.