A Brief Look at Patents

You’ve designed a beautiful toy. You’re registering your copyright, as well as trademarks for your growing company. Do you need a patent too?

What is a Patent?

Like copyrights and trademarks, patents protect a creator’s rights to his intellectual property. But while copyrights cover the expression of an idea, through writing, art, or other work, and trademarks protect the ways you promote your business and protects an invention or discovery. It would be wise to get help for your invention. There are three kinds of patents.

Design

Safeguards visual ornament which is either added to, or part of, a manufactured item. If your toy has an original shape, or decoration which is part of the toy itself, it might qualify.

Utility

Covers the way an invention works, or how it’s used. If your toy performs an original function, or contains a new sound device, for example, it may be eligible for this.

Plant

Is for new plant varieties developed with asexual reproduction; it probably will not involve your toy.

What are Their Functions?

Patents encourage new inventors to make their creations available to the public. Think about it: if you knew your invention would be swept up by a huge conglomerate the minute it left your garage workshop, leaving you with no financial or legal advantage, would you share it with anyone? Would you devote time and resources to creating it at all?

In the case of large companies, the expense involved in research and development would be hard to sustain if they couldn’t guarantee an income from their products or discoveries. Many new inventions, medications, and processes would never have seen the light of day if it weren’t for this type of protection.

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