What Does Your IP Consist Of?
Intellectual property (IP) is one of the most discussed topics in the manufacturing world. Many companies are struggling with safeguarding the Intellectual Property of their products. Eastek International, as an established Contract Manufacturing company, understands the importance of IP safety for our customers. We believe all intellectual property owners should be aware of its components to ensure that creations and ideas remain legally protected.
Intellectual property can be classified into one of the four or a combination of the four:
- Copyright can be described as the owner/author's right to protect the literature created. Copyright protection can only cover original work that is expressed tangibly, such as Technical Drawings of a product; intangible expressions, such as ideas and collection of facts, cannot be covered under copyright. Copyrights allow intellectual property to be protected for the entirety of its lifespan, plus 70 years. A copyrighted intellectual property cannot be used, in any form, without the original creator's consent.
- A patent is an exclusive property right to the original inventors, from processes to machines. Patents are generally granted for a limited period of time, depending on the type of patent, anywhere from 7 to 20 years from the filing date. One might wonder if a Patent granted in one country is valid in another; the answer is no. Patents are territorial rights, and they will be valid in the country or region filed in accordance with the law of that particular country or region.
- In the manufacturing industry, patent rights are primarily used to protect the creation of technology and the design of products. These rights provide stimulation and funds to finance research and development activities. The patent right should be able to give the creator company the facility to transfer the technology, invest in joint ventures, and licensing of the products.
- Trade secrets are part of the confidential intellectual property, i.e., not public. Although a company's patents are public, trade secrets are unavailable to anyone other than the creator. A trade secret generally has an economic value and carries information. It could be a recipe, algorithm, or process used to gain a competitive advantage.
- A company's trade secret can involve information that falls into Business, Financial, Technological, Economic, Scientific, and Engineering. A trade secret qualifies if the company works towards actively protecting the proprietary information. If the knowledge of a trade secret is made public, it cannot be protected under the trade secret laws.
- Trademark rights are private rights used to protect logos, sounds, words or symbols, shape, and packaging of a product that distinguish a single product or class of products of one company from the others. A trademark is similar to a patent and yet different. A patent right protects one product, whereas a trademark may protect classes of products and services that fall under the mark. Trademark protection terms can vary depending on the product or service. However, the protection term is usually ten years. Nevertheless, a company can apply for indefinite trademark protection by paying additional fees.
- An application can be filed for registration with the trademark office within the country of origin to protect a trademark on a national level, followed by paying the registration fee.
- Internationally, a trademark can be protected in two ways:
- File a trademark registration application in each international company
- Filing through the Madrid system- The International Trademark System allows a company to file one application to register the trademark in 130 countries, provided the company is found/originated in one of the 130 countries listed in the Madrid system.
In conclusion, companies must safeguard their intellectual property to protect their innovations and stay competitive in the market. At Eastek International, we understand the importance of IP safety and take necessary measures to protect our customers' intellectual property. Our team of experts are well-versed in the components of intellectual property, including copyrights, patents, trade secrets, and trademarks, and we work closely with our customers to provide the best possible IP protection. As a trusted contract manufacturing partner, we strive to help our customers achieve success by protecting their innovations and ensuring their intellectual property rights are upheld.