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Developing a great business idea, product or brand name can be the crucial driver of your Plano area business. Many Texas business owners know this and want to legally protect their intellectual property as soon as they can. As explained by Entrepreneur, depending on the kind of intellectual property you develop, you may be eligible for one of a few different government protections.

Some intellectual property can be copyrighted, such as works of literature, like books, magazines, and pamphlets. You can also copyright audio visual works, audio and sound recordings, computer programs, plays and musical works. With copyright protection, you possess the sole right to make copies of your protected property, distribute and display it as you wish, and create derivative works from your material.

If you develop one or more words or symbols that represent your product or business, you have created a kind of brand name that can be protected as a trademark. For a trademark to be effective, it needs to be distinct from other marks in the public eye. If a trademark is a word or phrase, it may contain a unique spelling. Likewise, images and logos should be as different from others as possible.

Distinction is also important when it comes to applying for a patent. A patent is used to legally protect an invention, a method or a process. Applying for a patent is not easy and involves navigating the requirements to qualify for a patent, including demonstrating that whatever you want to be patented is novel, useful, and non-obvious. If successful, your patent will last for twenty years, giving you the right to use, sell or create whatever you have patented during that time.

However, not all forms of intellectual property can be registered with the government and enjoy full legal protections. Certain kinds of information that gives businesses advantages in the marketplace, such as drink recipes, are considered trade secrets. The best way to safeguard trade secrets is to keep them as restricted as possible and have employees sign nondisclosure agreements if they are exposed to the information.

With the variety of protection options available, you may need to ask legal counsel for assistance to properly establish your intellectual property. Due to the varying needs of Texas entrepreneurs, only read this article as general information on business law, not as legal advice.