Protecting Intellectual Property: Patents, Trademarks, And Copyrights

Basic Types Of Intellectual Property Protection

There are four basic types of intellectual property protection:

Each will be discussed in order over the course of several posts.

Patent Protection

The United States patent system was created to help achieve various socially desirable goals. By providing an inventor with an exclusive right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of time, a patent rewards an inventor for the time and effort expended in developing the invention, thereby encouraging further creative efforts. Also, most new inventions have uncertain commercial value, and the patent system provides a degree of protection from competition for a limited period of time, thus encouraging investment in new technology. Additionally, the patent system encourages inventors to make their inventions known rather than to maintain them in a state of secrecy, thereby increasing the amount of technological knowledge available to the public. Finally, the patent system helps to aid in the sale or transfer of technology both within the United States and in foreign countries, by giving a commercially tangible form to otherwise intangible ideas.

The next post will discuss requirements for patentability.

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