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4 Ways To Effectively Protect Your Intellectual Property Online


Lumin staff


Apr 15, 2024



read time

5 mins

4 Ways To Effectively Protect Your Intellectual Property Online

Patents and copyrights can provide some protection, but they don't always guarantee that your design is fully protected, as duplicates are always possible. However, you have a variety of different possibilities to best protect your creation, each with its own set of advantages. This article will outline the different types of intellectual property protection you have, their advantages, and how you can enforce them.

Table of Contents

  • 1. What are the 7 types of intellectual property protections?

  • 2. 4 tips for protecting intellectual property

  • 3. How does intellectual property enforcement work?

  • 4. How to prevent theft of intellectual property

  • 1. What are the 7 types of intellectual property protections?
  • 2. 4 tips for protecting intellectual property
  • 3. How does intellectual property enforcement work?
  • 4. How to prevent theft of intellectual property

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What are the 7 types of intellectual property protections?

Intellectual property relates to intangible inventions created by the human mind. The creation of various intellectual goods is protected by intellectual property law. Information and intellectual property rights are set for a specific period of time. To protect your invention, you'll need to understand the various sorts of intellectual property. Here are the 7 ways intellectual property is protected:

1. Patents

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Patents are mostly used to protect novel plant species or strains, as well as unique concepts or processes. They are intellectual property rights that give the owner the right to prevent others from creating, selling, using, or importing an invention for a period of time, usually twenty years. The US Patent and Trademark Office issues patents in the United States. An inventor does not have exclusive rights to his or her invention until a patent is obtained.

Every country has its own distinct procedures for granting patents. As a result, the US patent is unenforceable in international markets. 

2. Trademarks

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A trademark is the name of a product or service that is connected to it. It's what customers use to figure out what something is or where it came from. A wordmark is a trademark that is made up of a single word or multiple words. Colors, sounds, and even smells can be utilized as trademarks in addition to the name. Most trademarks are either wordmarks, slogans, or logos.

When it comes to a fresh invention, you'll want to protect your wordmark first, then go on to other types of trademarks. It is necessary to conduct research to confirm that no one else is using a similar mark. The registration of your trademark is not required.

3. Copyright

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Images, words, product packaging, labels, and the product itself are all protected by copyright. Copyright registration for these sorts of intellectual property is not expensive, and anyone who infringes on the copyright is obligated by law to pay attorney fees.

You would be responsible for your own attorney bills if you had not registered copyright, which would be more expensive than the damages caused by someone duplicating your words and photos. Movies, films, images, articles, and software are all examples of copyrightable works. While software is a practical tool, the creativity utilized in the selection and arrangement of various portions of code allows it to be copyright protected. Explore our innovative pdf tools for enhanced copyright management capabilities.

4. Trade secret

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A trade secret is knowledge that is not widely known and reasonably discoverable or publicly available. It provides a competitive advantage to its owner. The owner of a trade secret must keep it discreet in order for it to be effective. This is accomplished by employing non-disclosure agreements and enacting policies and practices that limit access to that data.

The Coca-Cola Company, for example, has a trade secret in their Coca-Cola recipe. By safeguarding this formula, other companies will be unable to imitate the Coca-Cola product.

5. Industrial design

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An industrial design product is one that is made in a specific shape, pattern, or color with the goal of improving functionality, usefulness, or aesthetic value. For the artist, the Industrial Design Act safeguards these designs. Visual appeal and originality are essential for an industrial design to be safeguarded. The Patent Office grants industrial design patents to protect a product's non-functional aspects.

The right to industrial design is a reward for the creator's efforts and investment in the production of a product. The normal duration of enforceable protection is from 10 to 25 years, divided into terms. You must renew your registration for certain forms of intellectual property if you want to extend your term.

6. Database

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Database rights, which were first introduced in 1996, were created primarily to protect databases. The rights exist if there has been a significant amount of effort put into obtaining, presenting, or validating the contents of a database. Financial, human, and technical resources are all part of the investment. The author of the database is the original owner, and he or she is responsible for gathering, confirming, and presenting the database's contents. The maker or creator also assumes the risk of investing in the same. The rights give the owner the ability to prevent others from extracting or reusing all or part of their database's contents. From the date of creation, the right is granted for 15 years. However, if the database is published within this time, the database rights are enforceable for 15 years from the date of publication.

7. Unfair competition

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Any fraudulent trading practice that is prohibited by statute, regulation, or common law is considered unfair competition. It includes similar concepts that provide a variety of causes of action, including trademark or copyright infringement, improper appropriation of trade secrets, and defamation claims. The law safeguards firms' financial, intellectual, and innovative investments in order to differentiate themselves and their products. It also aims to boost competition by providing companies with incentives to promote goods and services that are superior to those offered by competitors.

The nature of this kind of intellectual property makes a substantial contribution to a country's or state's economy. The majority of industries rely on effective patent, trademark, and copyright enforcement. Consumers, too, use intellectual property to ensure that they are purchasing things that are safe and guaranteed.

4 tips for protecting intellectual property

The four main categories of intellectual property protection are copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. It might be difficult to figure out the best strategy to protect your intellectual property. This is particularly true in highly technical fields such as industrial design and computer algorithms.

1. Copyrights
Copyrights protect written and artistic creations for up to 70 years after the creator's death.

Because concepts cannot be protected, these creative works must be a concrete reflection of the creator's original thoughts. Manuscripts, books, song lyrics, paintings, pictures, sound recordings, and other works are all protected by copyrights.

Although copyright exists from the moment the author creates the original work, registration grants copyright owners exclusive and expanded rights. It can assist owners in enforcing their rights against infringement through litigation, allowing them to seek monetary damages as well as attorneys' fees if a lawsuit is filed.

2. Trademarks
Words, phrases, symbols, and emblems that identify one's goods or services can be protected by trademarks. Trademark registrations can last forever as long as it is used in business and is renewed every ten years. As a result, trademarks are one of the most important forms of intellectual property protection for firms.

The intellectual property of a company ensures that it is easily recognized by customers. This means you won't be able to trademark a logo that looks too much like one of your competitors' if it could lead to customer misunderstanding.

3. Utility patents
Utility patents last for 20 years and protect a variety of inventions. A patent's protection relies on the invention being new or unique, which means you can't patent anything that already exists.

4. Trade secrets
Trade secrets are a type of intellectual property that your business may choose to keep private and not disclose with others. This might be to safeguard a financial benefit that would otherwise be lost if your trade secret became public information or was stolen by a competitor.

Trade secrets have no official protection for your intellectual property because they aren't public and aren't lodged with any government office. However, any theft of a trade secret is a criminal violation — if you can prove that you attempted to keep it confidential. Corporate espionage is a federal violation, therefore this could be punishable in court. 

How does intellectual property enforcement work?

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When another party tries to infringe on your intellectual property rights, it's known as infringement or misappropriation in the case of trade secrets. Depending on the type of IP protection infringed upon and the degree of the violation, IP violations are either civil or criminal offences.

Enforcing intellectual property violations isn't always straightforward, but you can better prepare yourself to deal with them if you understand how different types of infractions are handled.

It is your responsibility as the inventor to demonstrate that your idea is fresh, unique, and worthy of protection. A patent states exactly what you own as the inventor and serves as proof of infringement in the event that a copycat appears.

2. Copyright infringement
Because they include artistic works such as essays, drawings, and music, copyrights are a more abstract legal property than patent protection.

Although copyright registration isn't essential to secure a copyright, it might assist you in collecting damages when defending your intellectual property.

3. Trademark infringement
Trademark protections include more than simply your company's or logo's name or design; they also cover what that name or logo signifies. The potential of customer uncertainty about the source of goods or services is typically at the heart of trademark litigation.

To prove that a trade secret has been compromised, you must show that it is under lock and key—without legitimate protection, a court is unlikely to back up your allegation.

How to prevent theft of intellectual property

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In the event that a third party steals your intellectual property rights, you must have safeguards in place to combat the theft. You may still be able to stop the reproduction of your ideas if you haven't registered or protected your IP, but you may not be entitled to any monetary damages.

You have two alternatives for stopping an IP infringement in progress, but remember that registering your IP rights gives you the best chance of battling impersonators and infringers in court.

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