In this lesson, you will be learning about intellectual property and how to protect it because your ideas and creativity are something that can be taken. It is very important to protect yourself and your product in order to be successful!
Please complete this online pre-assessment so that you can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and learn where you need to spend more focus in the lesson.
Intellectual Property is any idea, innovation, or non-physical representation that you create or produce. You can and need to protect it in case someone else likes your idea and tries to claim it as their own. If you don’t have proper protection, they will be able to claim it. You are taking this course because you have a great idea for a business or created a great invention or product that you want to grow into a business. There are key points to remember and put into action before making your ideas known.
First, you must do research to determine which ideas are worth protecting. It can get costly to protect ideas and some ideas might already have been developed and protected. Ideas could be patented, copyright protected, trademark protected, or kept as a trade secret. Even though you feel your idea is unique, you need to complete the research to confirm that it is unique. This is called making sure you have the freedom to operate. The United States Patent and Trademark website is a great place to start this research.
Next, you will want to choose the ways you will protect your IP. Since you are just starting out, you might not need to start a patent application yet. You can protect your IP through trade secrets such as using a Non-Disclosure Agreement with anyone that helps you build your business. This will legally bind them from sharing your ideas. Back up all your ideas on a jump drive from your computer and keep personal electronic devices with information password protected. Once you create something new and creative, it is automatically copyrighted. If you want to claim it as yours in a court of law, actually registering it with the U.S. Copyright Office is the best approach. At some point, you will be ready to patent your product and you will want to have a trustworthy legal advisor to guide you in the process. You will explore the different types of patents and find which type(s) is best for your product.
Think about something you really like and find three pictures of that item using an image search engine. Make observations about the pictures and note any special characteristics of them. Now hide the pictures from your view and draw your own picture using the same theme. Compare your picture to the original pictures. Did you infringe on any copyrights of the original pictures? Is there any part of your drawing that seems too similar to the original pictures? Think about what the importance is for an inventor, author, or creator to copyright or patent their work.
Now you are ready to dive deeper into Intellectual Property and what it means to have the freedom to operate. You will use a Frayer Model Diagram to help you organize your understanding of freedom to operate and reflect on your product as well as how to approach understanding if you do have the freedom to operate. Utilize the links in the toolbox for your research!
In this activity, you will spend some time researching and evaluating your product on the United States Patent and Trademark website. See if you can find any other existing patents or trademarks. Explore the online links to apply for a patent or trademark. Choose one form in this section to complete. Pick the form that you will most likely need in the future. An Invention Disclosure form will be useful if you have a new invention or product. The Intent to Trademark form might be more fitting if you are creating a business around a service. Utilize the links in the toolbox for your research!
Once you have completed all of the above items, you are now ready to complete the online post-assessment. Use the Lesson Assessment Rubric to guide and evaluate your growth and understanding. If there is anything that you do not do well on, you should go back through the lesson and toolbox to dive deeper into the content until you feel you have a good understanding to move onto the next lesson.