You have invented or created something and now you’re afraid that someone will steal the idea. Don’t worry, there are ways that you can protect your invention or creation.
Inventors apply to the government for a patent. A patent is an agreement between the inventor and the government. The inventor agrees to reveal information about the invention to the public and, in return, the government grants the inventor a patent, which gives the inventor the exclusive right to make and sell the invention for a specific period of time.
Trademarks are everywhere. You may even be wearing some! Look for a ™ or a ®. ”Roots ®”, the clothing company, is a trademark and so is “Apple ®”, the computer company. Trademarks tell us that the product is unique and there is no other like it. The ™ stands for trademark and anyone can use this symbol, and the ® stands for a trademark that has been formally registered with the government and, as a result, is better protected.
Shhh…don’t tell anyone. Not all great ideas are patented. Some inventors decide they can get better protection by keeping their invention secret. The formula for Coca Cola™ is believed to be locked in a bank vault.
Works of art like books, paintings and even drawings for inventions are legally protected by copyright. Unlike patents, getting a copyright for a creative product is really easy AND free. You can do it yourself by displaying the copyright symbol ” © “, the year, and your name.