“Like your business name? Protect it.
Like your invention? Protect it.
Like your logo? Protect it.”
Today I attended an informational session about the protection of intellectual property. Buffalo’s “Pirate Fight Club” is hosted by Del Vacchio & Stadler LLP on the third Tuesday of every month. The meetings are completely free and open to the public.
I originally reached out to my aunt for some general advice on how to protect digital artwork and original music on the internet. Her primary focus is in business contracting, so she referred me to the Pirate Fight Club.
Here’s another excerpt of the concise email I received from DVandS:
“In the Age of the Internet, intellectual property piracy is rampant. That means it’s more important than ever to protect names, logos, and ideas from ill-meaning and unwitting intellectual property pirates in Buffalo and beyond. Learn how to protect your assets from piracy at Del Vecchio and Stadler’s free Pirate Fight Club.”
The main idea I took away from the Pirate Fight Club is the distinction between the four main types of intellectual property rights: trademarks, patents, copyrights, and trade secrets.
Trademarks are meant to identify and distinguish a good, product or brand. Typically, a company would trademark their name, logo, and potentially even the colors of their logo. Trademarks protect the authenticity of a company, and they also protect the public from knock-off brands.
Patents are used to protect inventions. Whoever invents a machine or a composition of matter is entitled to a patent. But the process of obtaining a patent isn’t easy. The inventor has to convince the US Patent & Trademark office that their invention is completely new, useful, and non-obvious. It’s also important to note that you cannot patent an idea, or anything in public domain.
Copyrights protect original works of authorship. This applies to music, visual art, written works, etc. The great thing about copyright is that it technically doesn’t have to be filed. A copyright is automatically attached to your work upon its creation. However, it’s still good to register your work with the US Copyright office, as it’s fairly cheap and may help you out in a potential lawsuit down the road.
Last but not least: trade secrets. According to the UTSA (Uniform Trade Secrets Act), a trade secret is defined as “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.” A good example of this is the secret formula for Coca-Cola.
The Pirate Fight Club provided me with plenty of valuable information that’ll definitely help me as a photographer and musician. If you’re a writer, musician, visual artist or business owner, I’d highly suggest you attend the next session.
Click here for more info on the Pirate Fight Club.