There are many different ways to show that something belongs to you. This day and age is largely about ownership, and being able to prove that something belongs in your possession is paramount. Cars and other vehicles have titles showing the name of the owner. Houses and properties are pretty much considered useless without the proper documentation or deed. Most big purchases will at least have some sort of paper trail that can trace the history of ownership. And people will even write their names on jacket tags or the bottom of dish trays at a potluck. For most people the importance of ownership lies in the hard work that has been put into acquiring those things that you are so proud to own. But there are times that proving ownership can be a bit tricky, and mediation services may be necessary to facilitate a satisfactory outcome for all individuals.
The importance of trademark, copyright and patent laws
When it comes to intellectual property, it can be much more difficult to prove where something has originated from than pulling out a title or deed. Copyright laws help to protect the intellectual and artistic works of the original author, and cover a wide variety of mediums, from literature to music. A trademark is a bit different. This familiar concept deals with the protection of certain brands of goods, so that another company cannot produce a similar product with the same name or one that is marketed to fool consumer’s into thinking it is the same as the original. In the United States it takes about 10 to 14 months to get a federally registered trademark. And patents protect the rights of the inventor of a product. The standard term of a patent is 20 years from the point of the filing date of the earliest application, and in some cases this term might be allowed to be extended. If you are working with or around others when developing your intellectual property, you may want to pursue trademark, copyright and patent laws, even if those you are working with have any sort of fiduciary responsibility to help protect that work. Getting your name on your work as soon as possible can avoid a lot of trouble and confusion down the road.
Sharing your protected work with the world
Whether you are worried about copyright and patent law or not, you certainly deserve the credit and recognition for your work. Some people feel that their work is done once their art, music, writing, or other creation has been completed. They have put it together and put it out into the world to be enjoyed, and may not even be interested in any money that might come from it. That is the beauty of creating, is that you can choose what to do with it, and how it is presented to your audiences. However even if money is not part of the concern, you may still do well to get your name on your work, if not for the recognition than to protect yourself. Unfortunately there are plenty of less-than-honest people out there who would be all too willing to try and make a quick buck by insisting that the beauty you have created and released was actually created and stolen from them. They could claim your work as their own, which is bad enough, but if they then try to get money out of you by claiming that you were the one who did the stealing, things could get ugly. Protect your beautiful property.
Yes, there is something to be said for wanting to share with your fellow human being. But being smart about it could save you quite the headache in the long run. Take the time to do the research and find the right fit from your choice of trademark, copyright and patent laws, depending on what your work happens to be.