What is Intellectual Property?
And do I have any Intellectual Property? (The answer is, yes, you most likely have some form of IP that you can make money from)...
Knowing a bit more about IP is key to understanding the rest of the concepts contained in this blog. I frequently hear IP terms being bandied about incorrectly, such as inventors who want to ‘patent a name’, or ‘copyright a logo’. Hopefully at the end of this section you will have a clearer understanding of how each of these rights work and what they can and can’t protect.
Bear in mind that in the real world it’s never clear-cut and you will most likely come up with something that cuts across several of these types of IP rights.
This section is meant to raise awareness of what forms of IP are available so that you are sensitized to this and don’t fall into the trap of discarding or disregarding the value of your ideas.
Patents (called ‘Utility Patents’ in the US)
Patents are temporary monopolies granted by a country to an inventor, generally for a period of 20 years. Patents may be used to protect inventions that are new, involve an inventive step, and have some sort of application in trade, industry, or agriculture. A rather hackneyed example of a patent that most people could relate to would be a new type of mousetrap. The way in which the new mousetrap works, its machinations in other words, is generally what’s patentable.
So, patents generally provide protection for a principle of operation of a new apparatus, or even a method or process of doing something, such as chemical processes patented by large chemical giants. Different aspects of one invention can be captured in more than one patent, and sometimes really big inventions can be split into many patents, using a system of ‘divisional’ or ‘continuation’ patents, described later in this book.
The details of the inventions are described in a technical document called a patent specification, and I’m going to give you lots of information regarding the type of information that you can use to file killer patents – this is contained in a special report which you can download using the code at the back of this book. At the outset, I should say that I would always suggest that you rather scrape together the money and get a patent lawyer to do this for you. It will be less stressful, and you’ll have way less chances of it turning into a nightmare and you losing all of the protection you may have been entitled to. However, I promise to give you insider’s tips and secrets that will save you thousands of dollars in legal and patent fees, information that you simply won’t get anywhere else.
Always remember: a patent specification must aim to provide you with the widest possible coverage for your invention (captured in a series numbered paragraphs at the end of the patent specification, called ‘clai