Intellectual property is the lifeblood of many businesses. It is the special sauce that makes your product different, your process faster, or your brand stand out. Understanding what is — and what is not — intellectual property that can be protected through a patent, trademark, or copyright is important, because an idea that is not combined with action is not eligible for legal protection when your intellectual property has been infringed upon.

If you are a creative person who has an idea for a book or novel, a movie script, a piece of art, or other unique form of expression, it is only an idea until it actually exists. The same is true for trademarks, in that once you have begun to actually use it rather than envisioning it or having it on a list of potential brands or product names, it is yours. And if you’re an inventor, your idea isn’t eligible for a patent until it has moved beyond a theoretical stage to the point where you are ready to move forward and build a working model.

No matter which type of intellectual property you own, once you have reached the correlating point listed above you are protected by law, have exclusive rights to its use and benefits, and are able to file suit against anybody who infringes upon them. If you have a tangible work, such as a game, a book, a lyric, or even a dance that you have created then you can take legal action for copyright infringement. If your invention has been investigated and has moved far enough from theory so that its mechanism and workability has been thoroughly investigated and documented, you can file for patent protection, or even for a secondary form of patent known as a “provisional patent” that will protect your intellectual property while you test its potential and whether you will be able to generate resources to move forward. Unauthorized use of your intellectual property gives you the right to sue for patent infringement. Finally, if your intellectual property takes the form of a trade secret, you can file an intellectual property lawsuit under a specific trade secrets law. As long as your intellectual property has already been in use, it is eligible for legal protection from infringement.

If your idea has progressed to the point that it is considered intellectual property, or you’re not sure whether it is eligible for legal protection and action, our experienced attorneys can provide the guidance you need. We can also provide aggressive litigation should your intellectual property be infringed upon. Contact us today.