Protecting intellectual property is often first step to commercial success

May 8, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The United States celebrated entrepreneurs and their startups during National Small Business Week, May 5-8, including those companies based on intellectual property. Intellectual property includes creative works, inventions and other products of human intellect and imagination. Protecting intellectual property could be the first step in delivering it to the public as new products and processes.

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization works with faculty and staff located at all Purdue University campuses. The office's patent managers confer with researchers to determine if intellectual property should be protected and, if so, the best means. These are the methods of intellectual property protection offered by the office:

* Patent. Patent protection requires the filing of a written application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application describes what the invention is, how to manufacture it or its applications. A patent examiner determines whether the filed application meets patent law requirements.

* Registered copyright, ©. Copyright protection prevents others from distributing and using creative work and receiving compensation. Copyright is attached automatically once expression of an idea is fixed in a tangible medium, such as a computer file on a disk, a video on a videotape, or a photograph, a drawing or music on a sheet of paper. Registering the copyright at the U.S. Copyright Office has benefits, including providing evidence of ownership.

* Registered trademark, ®. Trademark protection covers symbols, expressions and designs that identify a product or service from one source as different from another's. They can be located on the product, a voucher or a package. To register a trademark, the owner files an application that is examined by an attorney in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Entrepreneurs can learn more about intellectual property protection by contacting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Writer: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org 

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