The protection of Intellectual Property Rights has come to the forefront for many individuals that rely on their creative problem solving skills in technology or industrial enterprises. New inventions on the cutting edge of technology and protected by patent law are the lifeblood of competitiveness and an essential component for the survival any business.
Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google are today’s dominant forces in the high-tech sector. These highly competitive megaliths closely guard their programming source code and algorithms that have made them the technical giants that they are today. Coca Cola is well known for its efforts to protect its secret formula and continues to introduce new products based upon market research and trends reflecting the ever changing consumption patterns of its products. The key to survival is keeping the secret of product differentiation just that, a secret. One way these organizations do this is by obtaining a patent through the US Patent Office.
At the heart of a discussion on intellectual property rights (IPR) is the relationship between the inventor who is in the employ of a company, a complex framework of patents and copyright laws, and the legal right to ownership of the creations resulting from the employee’s creativity.
Protecting one’s intellectual property from loss implies protecting an irreplaceable asset from unscrupulous characters that seek to profit from another’s creativity and knowledge. The depth of human knowledge is unfathomable and very little of it has been brought to bear in the market place. Technological knowledge, on the other hand, is the outcome of creative forces that drive technology itself. You might regard it as a self-generating knowledge that is dependent upon a constant stream in intellectual creativity in order to perpetuate itself.
The possession and ultimately the control and benefit of such knowledge are the matter at hand. Questions must be asked and answered as to who rightfully owns the knowledge, is there a proper consensual agreement between parties, and is there fair compensation for the labor involved in the discovery, creation, and documentation of the knowledge all have to be answered at some point.
The usual approach for asserting ownership and protection of IPR are through copyrights, patents, trade secrets, and trademarks. Contracts are another approach wherein the use and application of knowledge possessed by someone can be licensed to another under mutually agreeable terms and conditions, for an agreed upon price. Lawyers specializing in creating such contracts, or any of the aforementioned legal instruments, are an important resource to anyone with an interest in this matter.
There are also various organizations that are available to assist an inventor in obtaining that coveted patent for their invention. A Google search of the Internet will produce an adequate list of Intellectual Propety Rights companies to choose from. If you choose to use one of these firms, be sure to shop wisely and carefully compare their fees, upfront costs, development costs, any other hidden costs, customer service, consulting charges and marketing support.
For many back-yard inventors, the thrill of having created something useful for the benefit of mankind is completed when it is finally brought to market. The path can be tedious, as protecting the product or idea during its infancy is imperative and hazardous. However the return on investment can be significant, warranting the investment in whichever legal instrument is appropriate. You should research the organizations that can help you carefully, checking references and trade organizations that they may be registered with.
If you are currently employed for the purposes of invention and problem solving, you should be aware of the legal instruments and employment practices of your organization. One organization that has capitalized upon the free exchange of employee knowledge, creativity and treasure is Google. Companies seeking to emulate Google’s success will create a corporate culture in which knowledge and creativity are highly prized and Intellectual Property Rights are mutually respected for the benefit of the larger interest, profit.