According to the World Intellectual Property Association's (WIPO) website, intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. IP is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. (Source: WIPO article "What is Intellectual Property?")
Here are links to resources to help small businesses find out more about patents, trademarks, copyrights and how to protect their small businesses's intellectual property.
Overview - Patent, Trademark & Copyright
- The New York Times offers access to Small Business Guide to Intellectual Property and a September 2009 article "Patent Auctions Offer Protections to Inventors" discussing the emerging U.S.market for patents. (free registration required)
- Inc's Patents How-to-Guide provides an overview of the patent process.
- BusinessInsider.com's "5 Things You Should Know Before You TradeMark"
- Copyright.gov provides a basic copyright primer in Copyright Basics (PDF).
Protecting Intellectual Property
- (Federal & International) The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office's Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) program is a one-stop shop to help businesses protect their intellectual property (trademarks, patents and copyrights) at home and abroad. The hotline 1-866-999-HALT gives businesses the information they need to leverage the resourcesof the U.S. Government to lock down and enforce their trademarks, patents and copyrights overseas, both in individual countries and in multiple countries through international treaties.
- (Federal) The U.S. Commerce Department's Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will pilot a program to accelerate the examination of certain green technology patent applications. Applicable patents are eligible for expedited examination reducing the time it takes to patent a green technology.
- (Global - Protection) The Copyright Clearance Center is a not-for-profit insitution that is a global rights broker for print and online content, from books, journals and newspapers to blogs and images. (Tiered subscription)
- (Federal - Protection) Register your new idea with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). This government agency registers US patents and trademarks.
- (State - Protection) Register your trademark or service mark with the Ohio's Secretary of State.
- (Protection) Obtain an employee confidentiality/ non-disclosure agreement to protect trade secrets. [See resources listed above in the Legal Document Template section for potential providers.]
Patent Search Tools
- United States Patent & Trademark Office allows for searching the USPTO's database. The USPTO houses full text for patents issued from 1976 to the present and TIFF images for all patents from 1790 to the present.
- Australia's Patent Lense allows searching and retrieving the full-text of over ten million patent documents from US, Europe, Australia and WIPO, their status and counterparts in up to 70 countries. Also available, Protein & DNA sequence searching from worldwide patent collections.
- PatentStorm offers full-text U.S. patents and patent applications from the U.S. Patent Office, providing advanced search capabilities and full image retrieval in handy PDF format.
- FreePatentsOnline.com offers patent searching, chemical search and a mapping vizualization tool. The website also allows inventors and assignees to create virtual plaques to showcase their inventions and link to the full text of their patent.
- Google.com Patents allows for patent searching. It covers the entire collection of issued patents and millions of patent application made available by the USPTO from patents issued in the 1790s through those most recently issued in the past few months.
Selling Intellectual Property
- $ Yet2.com is an online marketplace connecting buyers (companies) and sellers (inventors) of intellectual property rights.
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