Intellectual Property Primer

By Vanessa DeDominicis

There are many categories of intellectual property, but the main categories are:

•  Patents (Inventions)
•  Trade-Marks (Brand Names, Trade Names, Trade Dress)
•  Copyright (Expressions)
•  Industrial Designs (Ornamentation)
•  Trade-Secrets (Undisclosed Ideas)
•  Integrated Circuit Topographies (Chip Designs)
•  Plant Breeder’s Rights (New Plant Varieties)

Most intellectual property rights have some legal protection as soon as they arise, however, these rights can be significantly enhanced and improved by registration with the intellectual property offices in many countries. The most common intellectual property rights are outlined in more detail as follows:

1.  Patents

A patent provides legal protection for an invention or process that is novel, non-obvious and clearly defined.

2.  Trade-marks

A trade-mark is a symbol, word, slogan or logo used to distinguish your brand or product from others.

3.  Copyrights

Copyright exists the moment you write, record or otherwise create something tangible with your ideas. Ownership automatically belongs to the author, so if you are hiring a graphic designer to design a logo for your business for example, be sure to have them execute a “Copyright Assignment and Waiver of Moral Rights Agreement” assigning all rights in the logo to you/your company.

Protecting your intellectual property is extremely important. The value of your brand can be significant and often much more valuable than any inventory you may have.

Vanessa DeDominicis practices in the areas of business law, real estate, wills and estates. As a Registered Trade-mark Agent with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and the United States Patent and Trade-mark Office, her business law practice has a specific focus on intellectual property law, including filing Canadian and US trade-mark applications and advising clients on infringement issues. This information applies as a general rule ONLY and may change depending upon the specific circumstances of your own situation. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information.  You can contact Vanessa on 250-869-1140 or dedominicis@pushormitchell.com.