The term Intellectual property (IP) covers original ideas, designs, discoveries, inventions and creative work produced by an individual or group. In the digital age it has become a challenge to protect your assets.
Protecting your Intellectual property is important to ensure your work is not stolen or copied.
There are a number of ways to protect your intellectual property such as:
- Register your business name, products or domain and social media handles
- Register your copyrights, trademarks and patents
- Get legal protection through creating confidentiality, NDA or licensing agreements to cover yourself
A trademark is a combination of letters, words, sounds or designs that distinguishes one company’s goods or services from those of others in the marketplace.
A trademark is unique. It is important to a company because over time, a trademark comes to stand not only for the actual goods and services you sell, but also for your company’s reputation and brand.
By registering your trademark, you protect it under law from misuse by others, and you gain exclusive rights to use it throughout Canada for 10 years (a term that you can renew).
If you produce original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, you’ll want to learn more about what copyright is and how you can use it to your advantage.
Copyright is the exclusive legal right to produce, reproduce, publish or perform an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. The creator is usually the copyright owner. However, an employer—for example, a film studio—may have copyright in works created by employees unless there is an agreement in place stating otherwise.
Through a patent, the government gives you, the inventor, the right to stop others from making, using or selling your invention from the day the patent is granted to a maximum of 20 years after the day on which you filed your patent application.
An industrial design is about how something looks. It protects a product’s unique appearance, not what it is made of, how it is made or how it works.
Industrial designs can be found in many everyday products, such as the unique contour of a car hood, the graphical user interface on a phone or the specific shape or pattern of your favourite shoes.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office is a fantastic resource for you when it comes to Intellectual Property protection.