HOW TO PROTECT YOUR IDEA,
NEW PRODUCT, DESIGN OR INVENTION:
Patents, Design Registrations,
There are two main forms of protection for ideas: patents and designs. The first question is:
What is the most appropriate form of protection for your idea?
Patents protect concepts, methods of manufacture, and the way a product works. One advantage of patent protection is that a patent can protect a product irrespective of the appearance of the product, thus giving broader protection than a design registration.
But, there are strict criteria which must be met before a patent is granted, including a search and examination process. Also, certain inventions are excluded from being patented. So, while a patent gives the broadest protection, getting a patent can be a relatively long, involved, uncertain and expensive process.
Design registration only protects the external appearance of a product. So if you wish to protect the way a product works, and a competitor can produce a product which looks different but functions similarly to your product, a design registation is likely to be ineffective. Also, there are certain design features which are not registrable.
However, design registrations can be obtained quite quickly and relatively cheaply.
Copyright protects a "work", for example, a piece of writing, artwork, photograph, music or a performance, from being copied. It does not protect the conceptual content of the work, or the idea or essence within or behind the work. So, copyright cannot protect an invention in the way a patent can.
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