FAQ

What are the different types of Intellectual Property?

Patents – protect new or improved inventions or innovations; (utility, plant, design)

Copyrights – protect the expression of ideas and concepts in a “fixed and tangible” medium

Trademarks – protect the public as to the source of goods and services

Trade Secrets – protect confidential information

PATENTS

What is a patent?


The purpose of a patent is to protect a new or improved idea and inform the public of innovations that advance the arts and sciences. In exchange for the patent, the Inventor must make the invention public through publication of their patent and in return receives a limited term to exclude others from making, using, and selling the invention (w/o a license).




What can you patent?


Patentable subject matter includes any useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter 35 U.S.C. § 101. Naturally occurring compositions are not patentable – inventive step is required, e.g., a genetically altered organism is patentable. Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 (1980).




How long does a patent last?


Patents are a property right granted to an inventor for new, useful and non-obvious inventions for a period of 20 years from the filing date of a patent application, and provide the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention without a license from the patent owner.




What are the features of a patent?


An invention must have practical utility; but does not have to be “commercially” useful. It must be novel and non-obvious.




What is patent infringement?


Whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the U.S., or imports into the U.S. any patented invention during the term of the patent therefore infringes the patent.





Trademark attorney 21stCIP
TRADEMARKS

What is a trade secret?


Any product or process a company or individual keeps secret. The best known / unknown company trade secret is the formula for Coca-Cola.




What can you protect by trade secret?


Trade secrets can be used to protect any company process or product such as formulas, client lists, manufacturing process or anything that can be kept a secret and not reverse engineered.




How long does a trade secret last?


As long as it is kept a secret!




How is a trade secret protected?


Unlike patents, trademarks and copyrights, there is no place to register a trade secret. A trade secret must be kept by taking whatever “reasonable” steps are necessary to maintain the secret, such as releasing the information only to those on a need to know basis and with contracts in place to ensure confidentiality.




How is a trade secret enforced?


Trade secrets are enforced most often by confidentiality agreements or an infringement lawsuit under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.





Copyrights

What is a patent?


The purpose of a patent is to protect a new or improved idea and inform the public of innovations that advance the arts and sciences. In exchange for the patent, the Inventor must make the invention public through publication of their patent and in return receives a limited term to exclude others from making, using, and selling the invention (w/o a license).




What can you patent?


Patentable subject matter includes any useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter 35 U.S.C. § 101. Naturally occurring compositions are not patentable – inventive step is required, e.g., a genetically altered organism is patentable. Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 (1980).




How long does a patent last?


Patents are a property right granted to an inventor for new, useful and non-obvious inventions for a period of 20 years from the filing date of a patent application, and provide the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention without a license from the patent owner.




What are the features of a patent?


An invention must have practical utility; but does not have to be “commercially” useful. It must be novel and non-obvious.




What is patent infringement?


Whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the U.S., or imports into the U.S. any patented invention during the term of the patent therefore infringes the patent.





Copyright FAQ 21stCIP
Trade Secrets

What is a trade secret?


Any product or process a company or individual keeps secret. The best known / unknown company trade secret is the formula for Coca-Cola.




What can you protect by trade secret?


Trade secrets can be used to protect any company process or product such as formulas, client lists, manufacturing process or anything that can be kept a secret and not reverse engineered.




How long does a trade secret last?


As long as it is kept a secret!




How is a trade secret protected?


Unlike patents, trademarks and copyrights, there is no place to register a trade secret. A trade secret must be kept by taking whatever “reasonable” steps are necessary to maintain the secret, such as releasing the information only to those on a need to know basis and with contracts in place to ensure confidentiality.




How is a trade secret enforced?


Trade secrets are enforced most often by confidentiality agreements or an infringement lawsuit under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.





Trade Secrets FAQ 21stCIP
disclaimers

This is not Legal Advice and should not be construed as an engagement or offer of legal advice.  These are only sample Q&A related to patents and trademarks. Protection and enforcement of IP property rights is subject to the nuances of circumstance and complexity of the law.