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Intellectual Property FAQs

Will the patent and trademark office enforce my patent?
All innovators wish that the patent office would enforce their patents; but, no, you are responsible for enforcing your own patents.  The patent, issued by the U.S. Patent Trademark Office, gives you legal standing to enforce your intellectual property rights.

How do I get copyright protection for my work?
As soon as you put pen to paper, so to speak, your work is copyrighted and protected.  In other words, as soon as you put your unique, creative ideas into a tangible form (paper, recording, or otherwise), your work is copyrighted.
That being said, it is wise to register your copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office.  Registering gives notice and helps with enforcement. 

Why do Coke and KFC rely on trade secret protections when they could get a patent?
Some companies rely on trade secret protections, and not patent protection, because trade secret protection can last indefinitely, and patents last just 20 years.  In addition, the patent process is complicated and expensive, taking a lot of effort.
Moreover, trade secrets are harder to copy than patents.  A detailed description of how to reproduce an innovation must be included in the patent application.

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