Written by June Campbell
All rights to original works are reserved to the creators
June Campbell's writing has appeared
in several international print publications.
Are you confused when people talk about patents, trademarks, industrial designs, confidential information, copyright and integrated circuit topography protection?
These terms are the six components of intellectual property laws -- the laws that protect the intangible or intellectual nature of an object, as opposed to the object's physical self.
You've heard it said that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door? We'll use that for an example that we want to protect.
Let's say I have created a new robotic mousetrap complete with remote control and various designer features. I have named it the Mouse BeGone! Before I start manufacturing, I will need to protect my invention through intellectual property registrations.
I will protect my name, Mouse BeGone! under trade mark law to ensure that another party cannot use the name. Trademark law protects words, symbols, pictures, or logos that are used to indicate that a product is mine.
Although trademarks are established by common law -- i.e. you establish your trademark simply by using it -- in the event of dispute, you will have a much stronger case if you have registered your trade mark with the appropriate body. Trademarks must be registered in each country where the mousetrap will be sold.
Since my mousetrap features a remote control that I have invented, I will protect my control by registering it under patent law. A patent is a document describing a physical invention. Patents prevent other people from making, using and selling that remote control for the period covered by the patent. The Patent Co-operation Treaty provides assistance in filing a patent with participating countries -- US, Japan, Canada and many European countries.
The design -- the shape, appearance and decoration - of the mousetrap will be protected under Industrial Design laws. As the registered owner of the industrial design, I am entitled to produce, use, rent, sell or license a product that incorporates the design. Industrial design must be registered in each country in which the mousetrap will be sold.
The user guide must be protected under copyright laws. Copyright laws protect books, music, art, films, sculpture, manuals, etc. Copyright law does not protect the idea behind my guide. It only protects the guide once it is written or in fixed state. Like trademarks, copyright is protected by common law, but registering with the appropriate body protects me in the event of dispute. In Canada, copyright extends to 50 years beyond the owner's death.
Since my robotic mousetrap contains a microchip (integrated circuit) that I have developed, it needs Integrated Circuit Topography protection. Approximately twenty countries have established statutes to protect this type of intellectual property. By registering, I will protect against other people using my microchip in their products or of reproducing it.
One last thing. I have ideas for an even better mousetrap but I worry that my competitors will acquire this confidential information or my "trade secrets." Ideas or concepts are not covered under intellectual property law but protection may be available under common law. I will ask my colleagues to sign a "Non-disclosure" agreement stipulating that the information is confidential. If a violation occurs, I will be able to turn to the courts to seek damage recovery.
And now -- Mouse BeGone!®
|A dozen more articles from June Campbell are available just by sending a blank Email letter:|
1. Tips for Writing a Business Proposal. Eleven tips for making your proposals effective. 900 words.
2. To Your Credit. A business consultant (and former credit manager) offers tips for developing a credit policy that will help protect you from business losses. 500 words.
3. Ten Tips for Building an E-commerce Web Site. Ten elements of site design that will encourage your customers to stay and shop. 400 words.
4. Don't Gimme No Solutions. Humorous "rant" about marketing jargon that confuses rather than communicates. 900 words.
5. Avoiding Wired Mistakes. Four mistakes to avoid if the Internet plays a role in your marketing plan. 585 words.
6. Using Email in your Business. Do you really need a web site to do
business online? Several business women discuss the role that email plays in their day to day business undertakings. 685 words.
7. The Psychology of Color in Marketing Materials. An overview of how color affects mood and behavior, with implications for the design of brochures, websites and other marketing materials. 360 words.
8. Your E-Sig: A Great Promotional Opportunity. How to write an email
signature that will do double duty as an ad for your business. 500 words.
9. Ten Questions to Ask Before You Purchase Disability Insurance. Covers the key qualities of a good policy. 460 words.
10. Just Say No to Marketing Scams. 600 words. Offers advice on how to identify marketing scams when you see one. Written in a humorous vein.
11. NetPosts. How to make a post card from your Home Page. 565 words.
12. Contracts Demystified. Clarifying the language of a business contract. 552 words.
Be sure to Click HERE and read June's other article on business use of the telephone.
June Campbell's writing has appeared in several international print publications.
Visit her site for more in-depth business articles, a free gift, books at low Canadian prices, online sales of proposal and business plan templates and more.
Be sure to read, Mother, May I?
by Lin Stone
and Controlled Licenses"
by Ivan Hoffman
It seems strange that some of those who create tangible items which can only be used by one person at a time insist that Eliminating Intellectual Property Ownership which can fulfill the needs of millions without reducing the original is the only fair course. Read the other side of this triangle and judge for yourself where you want humanity to stand.
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