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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 
PATENTS
 
I've got a great idea! What should I do?
Write your idea down, including detailed information on what it is and how it works. Include sketches and pictures if possible. Date the document and have it witnessed by either a non-family member or a notary public. This activity provides you with a clear picture of where you want to go and also provides an established first date of invention.

How do I know my idea is unique?
You want to make sure your idea has not already been manufactured. The easiest way to do a preliminary check is to check with local stores and do some quick internet research. You can simply type in keywords into search engines such as Google, Yahoo, eBay, etc.

My idea is unique, What do I do next?
Perform a preliminary patent search for the same or similar idea. The goal is to determine whether a patent has been issued on your idea. You can do your own patent search at www.uspto.gov, or contact a patent attorney to perform this search for you.
 
COPYRIGHT/TRADEMARKS
 
What is a copyright? What qualifies for a copyright?
"A Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of "original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly."
Courtesy of USPTO, 2007

What is a trademark and what qualifies?
A trademark protects words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in commerce.
 
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