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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.
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