How impressive it is to see what mankind can accomplish: Every day we are facing new challenges, leading us to new innovative and creative solutions; without any limit to imagination and inventiveness. The outcomes often are new complex concepts and thoughts which are always based on hard work. But success often comes along with plagiarism and you are easily confronted with counterfeiting and piracy.
So the main question is: How can you protect brands and technical innovations? The solution is an accurately registered property right, certified by law.
What is the Advantage of Property Rights?
In order to provide an incentive for creating innovations without losing financial viability, the property right guarantees, that any innovation or method that your company publishes will also just be marketed by your company ? bound to a fixed period of time and a specified territory. The benefits of this exclusiveness are the elimination of other competitors and the strengthened value of an innovation: Violating any protective right causes legal measures.
One Property Right Is Not Just Like the Other
There are different kinds of property rights regarding procedures, products and other services. Not every innovation can be dealt with in the same way.
Here’s an overview of the main types of property rights:
- Patents and utility models are used for technical inventions. They are characterized by newness and industrial application. The main difference between patents and utility models concerns their protection period. Additionally there?s just a formal consideration of the utility model application: Although the formal consideration includes checking for an inventive step, there are no further examinations of this step
- Trademarks are entered in a trademark register. They can include words, characters, typeface, logos, numbers etc
- The registration of a design guarantees the protection of a product?s color and shape
- Copyright law protects the originator of literary or artistic works and science. Unlike the above mentioned property rights, a copyright has not to be applied for, as it?s created automatically after creating an artistic work.
The First Step before Applying for a Property Right: What Has Already Been Invented?
The rejection of an application is often due to a similarity to a reference product which has already been granted and published. In this case there would be no inventive spirit. As nobody wants to waste time and money on futile applications, an extensive research is highly recommended, before a new project starts. The research will clarify if your invention really is innovative.
For an effective research, we advise you to focus on some fundamental questions (we?ve exemplified them for patent law):
- For which kind of technical problem does my invention provide a solution?
- What were the latest technical developments in this field?
- Are there other similar patents which have already been granted?
We recommend the following research databases:
- The DPMA database
- Database of European Patents
- Database of worldwide Property Rights
- Register of Company Names
Get high-qualified assistance
To avoid any problems and plagiarism issues, be careful when submitting an application to register a property right. Specialist lawyers can assist as your advisors, by supporting the planning and realization of the registration. After a property right has been granted, a lawyer can further monitor and supervise the invention to maintain its innovative value.
What insights and experiences did you gain by applying for a property right? What advice would you give to other applicants?