How can you build a strong legally protected brand strategy? By protecting the unique elements and creations of your business.
In other words, intellectual property law. Intellectual property law is an umbrella term for copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, and patents.
If you are a business owner wondering which type of intellectual property covers the specific assets of your brand you can discuss or consult with an expert technology startup lawyer.
Two types of intellectual property categories that sound similar but cover widely different elements of a business are trade secrets and trademarks.
Trademarks and Examples
Trademarks are words (word marks) or logos (design marks) that recall a company that provides products or services. In other words, trademarks are source identifiers. The purpose of trademarks is to protect consumers from fraud.
The true beauty of trademarks is that they never expire as long as they are in use.
Trade Secrets and Examples
Similar to trademarks, trade secrets are not limited in time.
According to the USPTO trade secrets are intellectual property rights that protect confidential and valuable information such as data, algorithms, or strategic plans. One of the most famous examples of a trade secret in a company is a recipe. Famous trade secrets include the coca-cola recipe, the KFC chicken recipe, and the google search algorithm.
Trade secret protection can be a complement to patent protection. The upside of patent protection is that it eliminates the need to maintain secrecy.
In addition, patents require the inventor to provide detailed information about the invention in exchange for the right to exclude others from practicing the invention for a limited period of time. However, when patents expire, the information is no longer protected.
Also, there are more limitations on what can be protected by a patent than a trade secret. If a given invention is eligible for either patent or trade secret protection, then the decision on how to protect that invention depends on business considerations and weighing the relative benefits of each type of intellectual property protection.
Maximum Legal Brand Protection Strategies
The distinction is substantial.
Trade secrets and trademarks have widely different intellectual property protection strategies, limitations, and values for different parts of a business.
Tech startups, small business owners, and entrepreneurs evaluating intellectual property assets and planning for maximum trade secret and trademark protection strategy should consult with a high-level intellectual property, trademark, trade secret, and patent expert David N. Sharifi, consulting startups in Los Angeles, California and nationwide on intellectual property protection and market strategy since 2007.