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Intellectual Property

Great ideas can turn the world around. So when your great idea comes--whether it's an invention, a design or even the formula for a new soft drink--you'll want to assert your intellectual property rights to protect it from unauthorized use and allow yourself the freedom to bring it to life.

What is intellectual property? Because you can't lock your ideas and expression in a safe, laws are in place to help put your inspiration in motion. Most commonly, intellectual property refers to copyrights, trademarks and patents. Whether you're a musician, graphic designer, writer, filmmaker, engineer, or an inventor, you'll want to protect the creations that keep you in business. Like anything of value, intellectual property can even be bought and sold.

Creative people need space to work. Protecting the right to your ideas grants you the breathing room to develop, market and sell them. Patents, for example, register your inventions with the government and give you exclusive legal rights. As you get further along in the process, you'll want to speak with an attorney about a patent to make sure you get it right. But Provisional Patent Application forms are a good, simple start. If you've developed a logo, a catchphrase or some other form of branding, you can register a trademark. Write a hit song or the next great novel? Register a copyright to lock it down in your name.

For nuts and bolts on intellectual property protection, browse the articles below. And as always, just let us know if we can help you find a lawyer.