With a patent, your invention can be property protected under the law. A patent defines the boundaries of your invented technology, like the fence around land. As a homeowner, your legal rights are based on the precise coordinates recorded in your deed. They unambiguously define what you own and what would be a trespass. The patent is like a deed. But instead of precise measurements, the words and images in the patent are the legal boundaries of your intellectual property. But patents are only one type of intellectual property.
Once you have intellectual property, you can either build a business around it or license it. A license allows another party to make, use, or sell your intellectual property, in exchange for royalties.
|IP Type||Protection||Duration||Esimated Cost||Example|
|Utility Patents||Functional ideas||20 years from date of application||$5000-$20000||Bionic Wrench|
|Design Patents||Look and feel of products||14 years from date of grant||Less than $5000||iPod|
|Trade Secrets||Any confidential information||Life of confidentiality||Varies||Coca-cola flavor|
|Copyrights||Works of authorship e.g. books, music||Life of author + 70 years||$50||Harry Potter|
|Trademarks||Any source identifier for a product or service||Indefinite if used in commerce||$375||GoogleTM|