You have a unique idea or name, what next? Consider that there are different types of IPs that define new innovation or discovery or a new improvement to an existing idea. In Canada, you can obtain patent protection from Canadian Intellectual Property office. There are certain things you need to understand before pursuing a patent or a trademark.
Three types of patents:
- Utility patents
- Design patents
- Plant patents
A utility patent is one that involves the discovery of a new process, article of manufacture, machine, or an improvement of an original idea. Design patents are mostly concerned with ornamental designs that can be used to manufacture something. If you apply for a plant patent, then you have to have discovered or invented a distinct variety of plant.
Utility Patent Process
The most common patent is the utility patent. When you verify that your idea does not appear in other patents you can decide which filing strategy you would want to use. In this stage, you have to determine whether you want an international patent, regional patent or both. If you want to patent in your region alone then you will need to electronically file for a provisional or non-provisional patent.
The patent process provides you with information about your patent period, requirements, charges, features, regulations and the examination. You can choose to file the patent on your own, with a patent agent or with a patent attorney. The patent agency recommends a lawyer who is in the position to assist you tackle the complexities involved.
Your application will then be examined by the patent office in the counties where you file. If it is successful, you will have to pay for the issue and publication fee to get a patent grant. The last part of this application process is the payment of maintenance fees. In case your patent application does not is not allowed, you will require a lawyer to help you file for an appeal. With a good lawyer, you can overcome the judgment of the examiner and still get the patent grant.
Why Get a Patent or Trademark?
Patenting or trademarking unique ideas, thoughts or innovations will safeguard themom being stolen and used by someone else- losing out on profits. There are imitators who steal ideas and make profits out of them. That is why It is not appropriate to share a unique idea with anybody until you have fully protected it; otherwise keep it a secret.
With a patent:
- you get recognition and upgrade your CV
- You prevent people from stealing or copying your invention
- You are liberty sell, lease or transfer the rights at a profit
- You can start a business which can become a source of income
- You can source for funds and grants from venture capitalists
- You create an asset that protects other assets
- You add value to your business through wealth and growth
- You reduce tour tax bill (in some countries)
- It gives you an upper hand when there is a breach of terms
Why A Patent Lawyer?
Indeed, the process of obtaining a Patent or trademark is long (about 24-36 months) and costly, sometimes with no guarantee. The amount of paperwork and legwork involved attracts high fees, especially when you are patenting or trademarking from scratch. You need to know your Intellectual Property rights; however, the laws related to IP protection change all the time. These changes make it a complicated process, so hiring a lawyer to do the job ensures everything is airtight and valuable. This is where Stemp and Company can step in and take over all the work for you.
When you deal with a lawyer from our firm, you are guaranteed a legal option for a confidentiality agreement. Before you hire Stemp and Company to help you defend your intellectual property, first come up with definite goals and strategies- this makes work easier. Therefore, if your idea can make the world a better place, then consult a patent lawyer from our team for the very best professional advice.
There are many reasons why people come up with great innovations; some do it for the fame and fortune, others desire to meet a specific need while others stumble upon a new thing while looking for something else. Whatever your reason may be, a lot of hours and at times money goes into innovating and there is need for you to protect your invention at all costs. Here’s how to do it:
- Understand Your Product
Not all innovations can be patented and for your idea to qualify for this license it needs to meet the following criteria:
- It must be original: no one else in the world has had the same idea.
- It must be usable: It should be something that people may desire to purchase
- It must be ingenious: people in your profession shouldn’t consider your innovation to be common place.
However if your innovation is an improvement on an already existing product or technology it may still qualify for a patent. This is because a patent secures a new composition, product, process or machine or any improvements on the mentioned items.
- Conduct a Search
Visit resourceful websites on the web and carry out a search to find out if your innovation has already been patented by someone else. Furthermore, if you intend to market or manufacture your product abroad then you will need to conduct searches within other jurisdictions.
- What Type of Protection do You Need?
Innovations can either be protected as trade secrets or as patents and each has its own pros and cons:
These are generally things that give you an edge over your competitors and you should have gone to great lengths to keep them out of the public eye. They are informal thus there is no paperwork to be filed and they have no expiration dates. Furthermore, you are not required to reveal the details of your innovation when you classify it as a trade secret. Such things as data compilations, designs, devices /instruments, formulas, patterns, practices and processes can be defined as trade secrets.
Usually confidentiality agreements (non-disclosure agreements) between you and anyone that may come into contact with your innovation should be signed. However, the details of your innovation may one day be leaked and if someone else claims that they discovered it first then you will have the burden of proof to show that you are the true inventor. Trade secret protection is therefore best for innovations that are still being researched.
A patent is a type of license that proves that an innovation belongs to you. It comes handy and is highly important when needed to produce in a court of law to proof that someone has infringed on your rights. However, unlike a trade secret whose details you keep to yourself, when you apply for a patent you have to reveal details of your innovation which of course exposes you to copy-cats.
Moreover, a patent has a shelf life of 20 years from the date of application and it costs money to patent your innovation (which isn’t the case with trade secrets). But on the bright side, a patent can be sold or used to negotiate for funding from banks, venture capitalists etc. Therefore, patenting a new invention seems like a good idea.
- Seek Professional Advice
The question of whether to treat your innovation as a trade secret or to patent it can be quite tricky and mistakes that you make at this point may cost you dearly in the long run. It is in your best interest to employ the services of established law firms that have lawyers that specialize in copyrights, patents and trademarks. They will guide you through the process. Of course their assistance will come at a fee but consider the benefits that your innovation may bring your way and the cost may prove to be worth it.
Whether it is an app, a product or service, a life-changing service or a song that you wrote, if you value it and you came up with it then you need to let the world know that it’s yours. There are several ways to do this and trademarks and copyright happen to be some of the common ways to safeguard yourself. Which one should you choose? We will try to answer this question as we discuss both forms of intellectual property.
Copyright protects original artistic, dramatic, literary or musical works as well as performances. Usually, the person that creates these works owns the copyright to them. However, production houses and record labels may also own copyright to productions and music that they create.
What does Copyright Protect?
The following works are covered by copyright:
- Literary works (any work that is in text form)
- Musical works (irrespective of whether or not they have words)
- Dramatic works (films, plays and their scripts)
- Artistic works (drawings, maps, logos, designs, painting etc.)
- Performers’ performances
What is the Lifespan of Copyright?
A copyright will usually last for the lifetime of an author plus the remaining months of the year that the author dies plus 50 years from the year that the author dies. There are however a number of exceptions to this rule that can be found when copyrighting.
How to Apply for Copyright
You may begin by conducting a search of the Copyrights Database online to make sure that no one else is laying claim to your work. You can then fill out application forms that are available online or you can also seek help from law companies that specialize in these matters. Some of the details that you will be required to provide include:
- Title of the work
- Category of the work (Literary, Musical, Artistic or Dramatic)
- Publication date and place
- Name and address of the owner
- Name of the author
Once your forms are duly completed you will be required to pay a one-time fee and submit your application. However, you may need the services of an intellectual property lawyer in order to fully understand the process and legal implications of copyright.
Trademarks protect brands and they can be one or many words, sounds or designs that distinguish your brand from that of your competitors. Their value is immense since to your customer your trademark is you and you therefore do not want anyone to misuse it.
Types of Trademarks
Trademarks come in three forms:
- Ordinary Trademarks are the words, designs or sounds that define your brand.
- Certification Trademarks are marks that are used to show that certain goods have met some defined guidelines.
- Distinguishing Guise deals with the shape or packaging of products that is unique to the company or you personally.
What is the Lifespan of a Trademark?
A trademark is usually valid for about 15 years from the date of registration. One the fifteen years are up, you must renew it after every 15 years and pay a fee for it.
What Can You Register?
There is an act called the Trade-marks act that gives clear guidelines on what qualifies to be a trademark but there are quite a number of things that won’t make the cut including:
- Names and surnames
- Geographical locations or places of origin
- Marks or words that could easily be confused for trademarks that already exist or are pending approval
- Marks or words that are similar to official designs, names and emblems like flags of countries or emblems of well-established organizations, etc.
How to Apply for a Trademark
The best way to begin your application process is by searching the database of Canadian trademarks as this will guide you on whether or not you need to amend your trademark to avoid legal troubles. With the issue of originality sorted you can then proceed to fill out your application forms and pay a fee known as the filing fee. Your application will go through a rigorous vetting process before you are issued with a certificate of registration. Consequently, it is advisable to hire a registered trademark lawyer to assist you with your application.
Have you ever asked yourself, “What would happen if I die?”. This is not a question about the afterlife, but rather about what would happen to all of your possessions once you pass on. You may wonder about things like:
- Will my family be taken care of?
- Who will get what among my assets and possessions?
- Will there be any problems with them getting my estate once I’m gone?
If these are things that bother you, then hiring a competent lawyer to draft your will is the way to go. This will give you a sense of security and peace of mind knowing that someone will execute your wishes and that your beneficiaries will get what they deserve.
What Can a Lawyer Do?
While some areas may accept handwritten wills, it is always important to ensure that all legalities and formalities of estate transfers are properly documented. This will avoid any inconveniences especially if you want special arrangements with regards to inheritance. By default and in general, all personal assets will be inherited by the deceased spouse or children, but things will definitely be more complicated if you want to divide up assets among different people or give to charity.
Complications may also arise if you own companies that are under partnerships or are a member of a corporation. Having someone that can properly document wills according to your specific wishes is definitely an advantage. In addition, a lawyer will be the one responsible in ensuring that all assets are properly documented and updated so that, once you pass, the executor of the will can irrefutably prove that said assets belong to you and you can distribute them based on your specifications.
A lawyer, while acting as executor, can also assist in setting up a trust fund, especially for those who still have small children. They will also be the one that will inform all beneficiaries as well as any guardians, in the case of orphaned children, of your passing and what they will get out of it.
What to Look for in a Lawyer?
When looking for a lawyer that will draft and execute your will, ensure that you are hiring someone who will work with you long term. Wills and lists of possessions are updated regularly, so make sure that he or she is someone that you will be coordinating with on a regular basis. Also, ensure that he or she is working for a reputable company so that, once your lawyer is no longer able to perform his or her responsibilities to you, then he or she can pass it on to someone else who can.
Lawyers that you hire when drafting and maintaining your will must also be able to provide full services, including but not limited to:
- Drafting your will
- Authenticating, documenting, and storing asset related documents
- Updating your will
- Setting up trust funds (if needed)
- Executing your will
Once you have a will, make sure to update it especially if there are changes in your personal life, such as when having a child or changing in civil status, as well as when there are major possessions and changes in your financial life like buying a car or putting up a business. This way, you can better assess how you would like your assets to be divided once you die.
Having a will is not a morbid idea, but rather it is a guarantee that the people that you care about will be taken care of once you are no longer around. This is something that is very easy to do if you can have a competent lawyer that can create a will that is according to your wishes. From the way that you want to be buried to exactly what and how much a person or entity would get, these are the things that you should think of right now, so that there would be no regrets once you leave the people that you care about behind. We at Stemp Company offer our clients excellent client service that ensures them peace of mind and thorough work.
The most valuable property of every person is their intellectual property. If you have a unique idea that can be turned into a profitable business it is important to protect it. You can protect your idea with a patent. Patents support products and process, and not limited to high tech technology.
Ideas surround every aspect of human life. Your idea can also be a useful improvement to an existing patented invention. It is quite unfortunate that some patents are stolen ideas. We share our ideas with friends, colleagues, and relatives, but we forget that they can possess it and use it for their benefit.
The process of protecting an idea is governed by laws and policies. In the case of patenting, you will require an agent or attorney to take you through this process: the exercise can be quite expensive if you do it alone. It is less costly if your idea is a viable business opportunity and targets an untapped market.
Patent application process
The patent application is the first and the most important stage which requires serious consideration. In this stage, you will have to understand the patenting process and do research to determine if your idea is unique. In this process, you need to set goals, seek resources, set timelines and document your idea. You can avoid patent application rejection by letting a lawyer do the prior art search.
Sometimes the patents are challenged in a court of law by a third party. In this case, you need a good lawyer to defend you from this and similar situations. Through your lawyer, you can enforce the patent and participate in lawsuits. If your idea is patentable, your attorney should assist you in drafting the patent application and amend it against rejection. The lawyer will ensure that there are no loopholes in your application.
You need a patent lawyer to advise you on the available patenting treaties and policies in your country and region; some patents can be obtained from international authorities. After patenting your idea, your lawyer can easily take action against patent infringers. When filing an application in a foreign country, some governments will require you to be represented by a patent lawyer who is qualified to do business in that country.
You may want to consult lawyer before choosing a particular strategy or any available option in the patenting system. If your idea reads on another patent, then you have two options: consider taking a license from the prior patent holder or assess a potential infringement. A patent lawyer should help you set the laws surrounding your idea and also interpret the laws on other patents.
Benefits of patenting an idea:
- A patent can add value and the viability of a startup or a company
- Patenting an idea prevents copycats from stealing it and using it to their benefit.
- A patent can be used as an asset for a company
- A patent can be used to attack your competition and generate revenue by dominating the market.
- Patent portfolios will not only protect smaller companies and startups inventions, it generates large sums of money when they are sold, licensed, and transferred.
- Patents can be used to recover the investment of a company when they are auctioned.
- Getting a patent will attract venture capitalists (VCs) to invest in your idea or get government funding.
- You are granted a territorial right to a product or a process if you successfully apply for a patent.
- A patent gives you the power to license parties to use your idea on mutually agreed terms for a given period of time (20 years).
- A patent gives you recognition for your creativity. It is a way of marketing yourself.
Stemp & Co for patent law
Patenting a unique idea can pay off in the longer run. If you fail to patent your idea and the product or process is successful, other will take advantage of it. Considering that someone might patent your invention first, hiring a patent lawyer may be the best option for you. If you need assistance in patenting your idea, Stemp & Co has qualified and certified lawyers ready to take you through the entire process. Having lawyers do the job ensures that your idea is secure.