The world as we know it is built upon brilliant minds and even more brilliant ideas. Our ability to innovate has always been the hallmark of our existence as a species and it is what keeps us as the dominant species on the planet. And that hasn’t changed at all. In today’s age, there isn’t a single thing that we interact with that isn’t the product of someone’s brilliant idea, whether it’s the house we live in, the streets we walk on, or even the food that we eat.

And well, we value good ideas. In fact, that is exactly what successful businesses are built upon. When a good idea happens, and if it’s properly marketed and perfectly executed, money is bound to come pouring in. It is a formula that has stood true throughout the years and will continue to do so in the future.

The only problem with tried and tested formulae is that everyone’s going to want a piece of the pie. And sometimes, that means that people are willing to employ underhanded tactics in exchange for more revenue. The theft of intellectual property is one of those things that I speak of.

And the truth is that it’s an arms race, in a way, for businesses that try to become first in a certain market. And well, there are many instances when some companies may not be the first at what they do in a certain niche, but they were the first to actually protect their intellectual property.

So, how exactly do you protect your ideas?

The Main Differences: Copyrights vs Trademarks vs Patents

There are three main methods that you can employ in order to protect your intellectual property. The difference is their purpose, or rather, the type of intellectual property that they are meant to protect. These are further explained below:

Trademarks

According to this article, “A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.”

Trademarks do not expire after a set period. They can essentially last forever as long as they remain in use by the company or brand that they represent. Now, getting a trademark isn’t mandatory, however, knowing when to consider getting a trademark can not only save you a lot of money, it can also save you a lot of trouble.

Copyrights

On the other hand, copyrights are meant to secure original works of authorship. These include songs, literature, architecture, and even software. These vary in terms of duration. Copyright for works that are created by an individual lasts for the life of the author and an additional 70 years thereafter.  For works created anonymously or pseudonymously, protection lasts 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

Patents

Patents are used to protect machines, manufactured articles, industrial processes, and chemical compositions. They are, in a way, a permit that the United States Patent and Trademark Office gives so that companies may disclose their inventions to the public

Tell everyone, yo!