Your Startups Pre-Launch Checklist: Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights (Part 9 of 14)

Trademark, Patent, and Copyrights from the Startup Garage
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This blog post has been prepared by The Startup Garage for informational purposes only and does not constitute advertising, a solicitation, or legal advice. The information contained in this blog post is provided only as general information which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments; accordingly, information in this blog post is not promised or guaranteed to be correct or complete. The Startup Garage expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this blog post.

One of the major upsides of being an entrepreneur is being able to come up with a great idea and share it with the world. In order to incentivize invention, the U.S. government created the ability to protect intellectual property (idea, saying, logo, etc.) so one could profit off it. That is why there are trademarks, patents and copyrights to protect the intellectual property of entrepreneurs and inventors.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark protects a word, phrase, symbol, design or some combination of all of these. Trademarks are most often used to protect your company logos or your products name. You do not need a lawyer to get a trademark, but it definitely makes the process easier. If no one has a trademark that is similar to yours, then you can start the process which costs anywhere from $275 to $325. An application takes about six months to be approved, so we recommend you get a lawyer to advise you so that this process is completed correctly the first time.

What is a Patent?

While a trademark protects a logo or name, a patent protects an invention or a new process. So if you have a new product that you want to patent, you should first check the U.S. Patent Office to make sure there is not anything similar already out there. After that, you need to determine what type of patent it is and what type of application to fill out. In most cases getting a patent attorney is extremely important since the application process is pretty complex. Typically, a patent attorney can run you anywhere from $4,000 – $10,000 per patent, but this may be a small price in order to get the best protection for your idea.

What is a Copyright?

A copyright protects an original expression, for example a piece of music or literature. Most entrepreneurs file for copyrights because they want details of their ideas on public record so they can protect themselves in a lawsuit. You can apply for a copyright for a $35 fee online and a $55 fee in person.

Trademarks, patents and copyrights are extremely important for entrepreneurs in order to protect their ideas. If you need more information you should visit US Patent Office and US Copyright Office.

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About Tyler Jensen

I work with entrepreneurs who are looking to attract investment and get out of the "Garage". I am passionate about helping entrepreneurs start companies that matter. I helped launch over 100 Companies, Non-Profits and Social Enterprises. I consider myself a serial entrepreneur, startup coach & trusted advisor. * Launching New Companies (For Profit, Non-Profit and Social Enterprise) * Expert Business Plan Writer * Extensive Network of Business Relationships focused on Launch & Rapid Growth of New Companies * Startup, Growth, Marketing, Technology, Web, Business Systems * Trusted Advisor to CEO’s & Entrepreneurs * Capital Raising Strategy Development * Startup Team Development The first company I started and sold is VAVi Sport & Social Club which grew to over 25,000 members in six years, was recognized as San Diego’s 30th fastest growing private company in 2006 by the San Diego Business Journal and 32nd fastest in 2007, and sold for over 25X the capital investment.