Intellectual Property Rights Guide

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Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights

What SEMA Members Need to Know If you have ever wondered what the difference is between a trademark and a trade secret, you are not alone. Most of the terms used to describe different types of intellectual property (IP) are commonly thrown around interchangeably. However, to protect the IP rights of your company, it is important to take a moment to review the basics of trademark, patent, copyright and trade secret law we have compiled below.
SEMA News—August 2014

LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
By Ashley Ailsworth

Members OnlyIntellectual Property Rights Guide

About this product:

All businesses have tangible assets: buildings, machines, and accounts receivable. Companies have intangible assets too: trademarks, patents, copyrights, reputation, and goodwill. SEMA places a high premium on the protection of trademarks, patents, and copyrights, also known as intellectual property (IP). Through this guide, we will describe these types of IP, the benefits of getting a mark or patent registered with the appropriate federal authorities, the application process, and the benefits of registration.

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Copyrights

By obtaining a copyright, a publisher, author, artist and/or composer gains exclusive rights to their production of original, expressive information (an artistic or literary work) for a limited time.

1. What is a copyright?

 The subject matter of copyright includes any original "work of authorship" "fixed in any tangible medium of expression."

 o An author is the creator of the original work.

Examples of Design Patents

The design patent is heavily dependent upon the drawings to communicate the features sought to be protected (as opposed to utility patents which rely on the written word to describe how the good is new and unique).  The focus of the design patent is on the ornamental design of an article, namely, the visual characteristics or aspects of an object.  The filing fee for a design patent starts at $390.00, plus legal fees.  Here are a few examples:

Automobile Hood, SLP Performance Parts, Inc.  [Design Patent No. D418,465]

Patent

Patents stimulate private investment in new, useful and non-obvious technological information (inventions) through the granting of exclusive property rights to the patent holder. 

1. What is a patent?

 The subject matter of patent is the invention or discovery of any new and useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement of a previously existing process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter.  Patents may also protect ornamental features (designs) rather than the function of articles.

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