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What is Intellectual Property? It is Imagination Made Real

It is imagination made real. It is the ownership of dream, an idea, an improvement, an emotion that we can touch, see, hear, and feel. It is an asset just like your home, your car, or your bank account.  Just like other kinds of property, intellectual property needs to be protected from unauthorized use. There are four ways to protect different types of intellectual property:

  • PATENTS provide rights for up to 20 years for inventions in three broad categories:
    • Utility patents protect useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture, and compositions of matter. Some examples: fiber optics, computer hardware, medications.
    • Design patents guard the unauthorized use of new, original, and ornamental designs for articles of manufacture. The look of an athletic shoe, a bicycle helmet, the Star Wars characters are all protected by design patents.
    • Plant patents are the way we protect invented or discovered, asexually reproduced plant varieties. Hybrid tea roses, Silver Queen corn, Better Boy tomatoes are all types of plant patents.
  • TRADEMARKS protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in business. The roar of the MGM lion, the pink of the Owens-Corning insulation, and the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle are familiar trademarks.
  • COPYRIGHTS protect works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed. The Library of Congress registers copyrights which last the life of the author plus 70 years. Gone With The Wind (the book and the film), Beatles recordings, and video games are all works that are copyrighted.
  • TRADE SECRETS are information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over their competitors. The formula for Coca-Cola is the most famous trade secret.
  • If you are an intellectual property owner, you should protect your rights. If you are a user, you should respect them. It is just as wrong to steal intellectual property as it is to break into a home, steal a car, or rob a bank.

Website Promotes New Products Ready for Market

December 31, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Business, Inventor & Entrepreneur Updates 

Do you have a product ready for market but need some chatter in getting it to market?  If so, then check out a new website Yak About It.  If you think that your product could use the SNAP CRACKLE POP of being Yak’d, then make sure you read the the Terms & Conditions and understand how the promotion process works, like $$ that might have to be shared, etc.  And, if you are an inventor and have not yet reached a launch point, then why not visit the site and leave some comments to vote on the new inventions being offered.  By yak-ing, you can offer your support to other inventors as well as influence what products you as a consumer want to see offered by major retailers.  One of my personal favorites is the Brella Bags hands-free umbrella purse.  Where was this when I was the one with two kids — one on each hip?  Now for the “Fun of It” runner up votes — the g-Spout and the Giggleville game.  Part of the reason for picking the runner ups is a blend of different, rather unique products, but also because the names have some “sizzle” and grab the attention of the consumer.   The power of the brand is important and as these new products make it into the stream of commerce, protecting the names with a trademark is just as important as protecting the invention itself with a patent.  Just think about how the Snuggie has become a household name in one year.

The Innovation Agenda and Green Jobs of the Future

December 6, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Business, Inventor & Entrepreneur Updates 

For a fabulous article by Mark Esper on human innovation and American creativity for green technology, see his article on The Innovative Agenda and Green Jobs of the Future on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce site.

According to the article, intellectual property (IP) in the United States is worth over $5 trillion, surpassing more than the nominal gross domestic product of any other country.  Driving 40 percent of our economic growth, IP accounts for more than one-half of all U.S. economic exports, contributing $37 billion to our trade balance.  Over 18 million Americans go to work every day in IP-intensive industries, often in fields that far surpass earning levels of non-IP related jobs.  For these reasons and others, the potential for green technology growth promises substantial windfalls for those who take chances.  As stated by Mr. Esper, “innovation is opportunity”.

Product Search for Inventors: BestSweet seeks ice cream-inspired candy

August 28, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Patent Articles 

New Live Product Search: BestSweet seeks ice cream-inspired candy

Candyholics rejoice! BestSweet, a top confectionary manufacturer, is turning to you for creative, new ideas for products to add to one of their deliciously notable candy brands.

BestSweet is now turning to our Edison Nation members to this leading ice cream brand’s next hit candy item that will appeal to the lucrative ‘tween consumer (ages 8-13). For this Live Product Search, BestSweet wants you to think outside the box of established candy varieties, such as Junior Mints® or Milk Duds®. BestSweet is looking for your product concept ideas in sweet new flavors and in any shape or size. Whether its minis or bite-size squares, consider the whole package concept and your buyer. What new candy would grab the hard-to-catch attention of ‘tweens?

For this Live Product Search, your product concepts must:

  • Retail in stores for $2.00
  • Appeal to the ‘tween consumer
  • Fit within a leading ice cream manufacturer’s line of branded candy
  • Be unique and patentable

Click here to learn more about the BestSweet Live Product Search

Patent & Trademark Auction on July 22-23

Ocean Tomo is now accepting patent submissions for its July 22-23 auction in Chicago, Illinois.

Do you wonder how much you invention or idea is worth?  Ocean Tomo offers an extensive qualified buyer network with experience selling IP assets across various industries and technology areas. Live IP Auctions have realized approximately $112M in transactions. Click here to submit IP online, or call (312) 377-4851 or e-mail auctions@oceantomo.com