Phase 7 - Intelluctual Property
The term "Intellectual Property" is generally defined as those proprietary rights and interests that businesses and individuals hold in respect to works of authorship (scripts and publications) as well as graphical depictions (such as trademarks and service marks). Many of you have heard stories of businesses which have sunk a significant amount of time and money into developing a unique logo or company name, only to find that another company has a similar logo or name (and protests its use) or the non-originating user claims rights to such logo and has protected its claims by proceeding through filing through the applicable Federal or State agencies which register trademarks and service marks.
To protect and enhance a business' reputation and protect the significant investment in such marks, it is critical that appropriate protective efforts be undertaken so as to assure that your hard work and hard-earned money are not subject to being held for naught by competitor or other company which might move a little quicker and be a little smarter. Intellectual property like that noted above can be protected through filings with the following two (2) agencies:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office - This U.S. governmental agency allows the filing of trademark and servicemark applications as well as accepts materials subject to copyright (such as books, articles and the like) and patents. Through an appropriate filing, additional protection of intellectual property can be accomplished, though somewhat restricted to certain categories of goods or services provided to the public.
Ohio Secretary of State - This State agency also allows for the filing of trademark and service mark applications. Although State registration offers less protection than Federal registration, State trade and service marks are less expensive and easier to obtain.
* NOTE: While Federal trademarks require that the trademark being applied for has been used in interstate commerce, i.e. sales or services over State lines, the Patent and Trademark Office does allow applicants to file an intent to use application upon where the trademark may be used one (1) to three (3) years following the application. This allows businesses to protect both their tradenames and trademarks nationwide in anticipation of future expansion.