When starting a business, one thing to think about is security. Not just the security of your business in general, but security of your ideas and what you have created. This is where things such as trademarks, copyrights, and patents come in to play. These are ways to assure that your business is safe from plagiarism and knockoffs. Trademarks are used to protect things such as business logos, names or anything that is put on your product to distinguish it from other products. A copyright protects things that are written such as any literature, books, music, or visual and performing art. A patent is the protective right against anything that is a physical invention.
Most startup companies will want to trademark their businesses to ensure that no other company has or uses the same name or logo. Trademarking can be done simply online at the United States patent and trademarking website www.uspto.gov. An attorney is usually not required for trademarking, but it may help things go a lot smoother. The average cost for trademarking is between $200 and $500.
Theoretically, a completed work is copyrighted, but sometimes it is important to file a copyright to avoid infringement. If your new startup company needs a copyright, whether it is for a book, or significant document, it can be easily done online as well. First you must visit www.copyright.com, and then choose the type of work you are copyrighting, and fill out the application. It is that simple, and it will only cost $35 online or $50 if you would like to file the physical papers by sending them through the mail.
Patents are the most important protection devices for inventions. A patent will ensure that your invention can not be copied by anyone else to make profit. This is why the patent process is a little bit longer and more difficult. First, you must ensure that your product has not already been invented. You can find this information by looking at www.uspto.gov. Now you must decide which category your invention falls under; utility, design or plant. A utility patent is for an invention of a machine or article of manufacture. A design patent is for an invention of a new and original design of an article of manufacture. A plant patent is exactly what it sounds like, a patent for an original plant that was created and reproduced. Next you must fill out the correct application at: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/index.jsp. In most cases an attorney is highly recommended. This is important to make sure that your patent is filed and protected correctly. Patents are not cheap so it is important to make sure that everything is done correctly and uniformly. A patent runs anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000 depending on the type.
A business is important to protect, and so are your ideas and inventions. The use of trademarks, copyrights, and patents is imperative to providing the protection needed against infringement, plagiarism, and stealing.