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How to protect your intellectual property

Intellectual property is any type of work or invention that is the result of creativity. In the state of Colorado, inventors, authors, musicians, and artists need to protect their intellectual property to prevent others from using or financially benefiting from their creations without their permission. There are three types of IP protection: trademark, patent, and copyright. The following example shows how these different kinds of IP protections can apply in the development of a health app.

A trademark can protect any words, symbols, phrases, and sounds that identify a particular product. The developer of a health app needs to create a name, logo, and tagline, which will distinguish it from other similar apps. Trademark registration protects the app's name and reduces trademark disputes.

Patents stop others from copying, producing, and selling inventions without permission. Someone who is developing an app should file a patent application for protection early on in the process. There are two types of patents that can be used to protect a health app. A utility patent covers new and useful processes and products, and a design patent protects original designs. Even though a health app may not contain groundbreaking ideas, it should have a unique look. In this case, a design patent is the better choice as it is less expensive and easier to obtain than a utility patent.

Copyright protection prohibits others from reproducing or copying the original work of a creator. It comes into play with a health app's instructions and source code. A creator gains protection automatically just by creating the original work. However, he or she needs to register it with the government in order to enforce that protection in court case.

An attorney may be able to help individuals decide whether they need intellectual property protection. A lawyer may also be able to help them file the correct documents to safeguard their inventions or original works.

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