In our last post, we talked about the types of patents that are available to companies and inventors. What we didn't talk about in that post is a glaring weakness in the current patent system that is, unfortunately, being exposed and abused in recent years.
A patent protects new ideas that are "non-obvious," but there isn't just one, catch-all patent to encapsulate every new and possibly world-changing idea out there. Instead, there are three different types of patents. Each one is unique and has its own requirements for how to apply and obtain the important legal protections they offer. The three that are available to inventors and companies are utility patents, design patents and plant patents.
In the last post, we discussed how individuals or corporate entities must understand that they can protect their intellectual property at both the federal and state level. By way of illustration, we began discussing how those seeking to protect their trademarks or service marks here in California can register either with the Secretary of State’s office.
As we've discussed on our blog, any individual or corporate entity can -- and should -- take steps to legally safeguard their intellectual property, starting with registering their creations with such federal entities as the U.S. Copyright Office or the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Trademarks are another arm of the intellectual property world that help companies who want to protect their symbols, logos, names and goods. Applying for a trademark can be a difficult process, but eh legal protections it affords companies make it worth it in the end. But here's the question: how do you protect your trademark once you have earned it?