Intellectual property

Protect your invention, ideas and creative works.
Characters Remaining: 600
Gary Lambert, Esq.

Rocket Lawyer On Call® Attorney

Essential legal documents for protecting your intellectual property

Intellectual property FAQs

Intellectual property may be an invention, creative work, design or proprietary business information. Examples include unique product designs, branding properties, books or music, or protected images.

How do patents work?

In 2012, patent law in the United States changed. The U.S. is now a "first to file" nation. That simply means that the patent for an innovation or product goes to the first person to file patent paperwork, not the first inventor. On a practical level, that means you need to file for a patent as soon as possible. Keep in mind that you can still file a provisional patent before filing for a full one. That way, you'll still be considered the first to file, even if you haven't worked out every detail.

What's the difference between a copyright and a trademark?

While both copyrights and trademarks help protect your intellectual property, they deal with different kinds of creations. Copyrights are mostly concerned with creative works like books, songs, photographs and web content. Trademarks, on the other hand, protect symbols that are tied to goods and services that you have created such as a logo.

What's the difference between a trademark and a registered mark?

Both a trademark and registered mark assert ownership over goods and services. A registered mark is filed with the government. A trademark symbol may be used to let the public know you're claiming "common law" ownership over a word or phrase without filing with the government. If you want that ownership to be official, you'll want to file for a registered mark with the US Government.

What is "fair use?"

Intellectual property is protected from other persons and businesses that try to profit from or distribute it without the owner's consent. For example, you can't simply set up a movie theater in your house and charge people to watch legally-protected movies. However, a teacher may be able to show protected-movies for educational purposes. That's because "fair use" often allows for intellectual property to be distributed and shown if it's for educational reasons

“I came up with an innovative and unique way to work with the homeless in Silicon Valley and have needed a lot of legal help to get it up and running. Not one attorney, no matter how great a friend, can handle all these problems. Rocket Lawyer makes it easy for someone like me to start from nothing and build it up to a really cool something. It's helped me do that—I wouldn't have been able to do this without Rocket Lawyer's help.”

Karen A.

Rocket Lawyer member since 2014