These days, getting ahead—at least from a financial standpoint—has become more and more difficult. While some people are able to make strides when it comes to advancing in their career field or chosen profession, others fall farther behind. Though there are a number of different ways in which individuals can succeed financially, developing a new product or service is one of the most popular. Individuals who have developed a new invention may want to “protect” their idea—or intellectual property—from theft by other businessmen and women. Understanding the basics behind intellectual property, why it should be protected, and how this task can be done is essential for those who hope to capitalize on their concept.
What is Intellectual Property?
Before one can protect intellectual property, he or she must have a basic understanding of the concept itself. According to Entrepreneur.com, intellectual property refers to the concept of having ownership of a collection of ideas or concepts. This “idea” may refer to a number of different items, including literary, dramatic, or musical works, motion pictures, sculptures, or even unique types of computer programs and catchphrases. To be categorized as intellectual property, the idea must be a new one that was created by one person or a group of people, and was not based on any pre-existing items. In most cases, the sooner intellectual property is protected, the safer the idea is from theft by others in the professional industry.
Why Should Intellectual Property be Protected?
In most cases, individuals develop new ideas for books, movies, computer programs, and other products out of a desire to make money. It should come as no surprise, then, that one of the most popular reasons behind the desire for the protection of intellectual property is so that the idea cannot be stolen by others, and profits can be maximized. If one individual—or a group of people—has sole ownership for an idea or group of concepts, they will likely make a substantial amount of income by restricting use of this concept/product if it is successful. However, if the concept is executed by a large number of different entities living around the world, each party’s income will be decreased by a substantial amount due to saturation.
How to Protect Intellectual Property
So how, exactly, does one go about protecting intellectual property? Are there certain steps that must be followed to ensure that the idea can never be stolen by others? Most experts agree that when it comes to protecting intellectual property, the first step involves consultation with experts at the Intellectual Property Owners Association, to identify the best course of care. Similarly, working with an attorney experienced in the field of intellectual property may be an effective way to ensure optimal results when it comes to this process. Based on the advice from these professionals, inventors may choose to apply for a copyright, patent, or trademark from the US Copyright Office or US Patent and Trademark Office. Depending on the idea in question, ongoing renewals and amendments may be required from time to time.
It should be a priority of every serious inventor/business person or idealist to protect their idea so that others can’t capitalize on your hard work or restrict you from pursuing your concept.