Obtaining a patent is expensive. Inventors and company product developers often have to spend $5,000-10,000 to protect their intellectual property with a patent. On the other hand, those who create creative works (manuscripts, articles, poems, photographs or songs) only have to pay between $45-125 to obtain a copyright.
Patent protection vs. copyright protection
What might be surprising to many entrepreneurs is that patent protection is much shorter than copyright protection. Utility patent protection lasts 20 years. Design patent protection is even shorter: 14 years. Patent holders also need to pay periodic fees to keep a patent enforceable.
On the other hand, copyrights obtained after 1978 generally last for the lifetime of the author, plus an additional 70 years. If the work is anonymous or is a work for hire, copyright protection lasts
• 95 years from the first publication
• Or 120 years from creation (whichever expires first).
Also, works copyrighted after 1978 don’t need a renewal.
What about trademarks?
Trademarks have protection for an infinite amount of time. As long as the trademark is in use, your trademark will be protected. You also need to use a registered trademark within five years of receiving it to receive infinite protection.
Filing for a patent isn’t something you should attempt on your own. The patent process is complicated. You also can benefit from legal advice in seeking a patent, as well as a trademark or a copyright.