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Fight for your Right! Protect your Intellectual Property

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How awesome is Dragon’s Den? As a Start-Up organization, Square One loves the show! How could we not? Nine seasons (and counting) of all kinds of new products, inspired entrepreneurs, and over-the-top valuations. But most importantly, the show features inventions and innovations. The Dragons throw around terms like patent, trademark, brand protection, copyright, and royalties. For all you inventors and innovators, these terms are important to understand and ensure your technology, idea or work is protected.

A patent is a legal exclusive right to all aspects of an invention. The protection applies in the country that issued the patent. The invention must be new (first of its kind in the world), useful (functional and operable), and inventive (shows ingenuity). The invention can be a product, composition, machine, process, or a substantial improvement on any of these (innovation).  Patents are granted to the first applicant, so you should consider filing your patent as soon as possible after completion of your invention, so you don’t end up saying “I thought of that, first!”

It is recommended that the services of a registered patent agent be utilized to help with understanding patent law and filing applications.

Trademarks and Brand Protection
A trademark is the exclusive rights to your brand and associated products or services. Your brand is the most intangible asset that your company has because it is a representation of the perception of your offering. By registering a trademark, you ensure that your brand name is not misused. Registration gives the owner the exclusive rights to that name and the ability to flag infringements. A trademarked brand can also be used as an asset to leverage financing.

Copyright and Royalties
Copyrights most often refer to literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work Generally, a copyright is the exclusive right to produce or reproduce, deliver or perform a work or any substantial part of an intellectual property. The work is automatically protected from the moment it is created. However, registration gives evidence of ownership and the certificate issued by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) can be used in court. The creator has full control on how the work is used. The creator can charge and/or grant permission and limit the use. Royalties are the sums paid to copyright owners for the sale of their works.

Employers have copyrights for work created by employees, unless otherwise stated.

For more information on protecting intellectual property, visit the CIPO website at www.cipo.ic.gc.ca.

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