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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

It’s time really on your side it’s no secret but having good IP can give you a huge edge over your competition but how long do trademarks patents and copyrights trade secrets really last

hey everyone I’m JD Hooven ER USPTO patent attorney and CEO here at bold patents law firm today I’ll be talking about how long the different forms of IP lasts first let’s start off with what the four different types of intellectual property are patents trademarks copyrights and trade secrets first off patent briefly what are they well patents are about inventions right patents protect utility and design inventions all right those are two different forms utility inventions are what makes it functional if you’ve invented a new invention that is a functional benefit you’re going for utility patent and that gives you 20 years of protection from the date of first filing now it might take two to three years to get through the Patent Office and so once it gets granted you’ve got that 17 or 18 years of lifespan now for design patent write design patents protect just what something looks like you get 15 years 15 years of protection after the grant so really it’s not that much shorter than the utility patent sister no second trademarks trademarks are those brands right that we all know of think of Nike and Adidas and you know Nordstrom these big brands that you’re you know they’re familiar and they evoke emotions what powerful about brands is that they last as long as the company does so technically they last forever as long as the companies around the brand is around now what can happen though is sometimes brands get genericized this has happened to you know the sort of famous lists of names like Kleenex right pass me a Kleenex or can use Xerox that for me right make a copy or when you go to an airport or some other you know companies Lobby you see a scrolling set of staircases and you see oh there’s the escalator well escalator used to be a brand of moveable stairs okay well it became known as the actual thing itself so companies need to be careful that their brands don’t become genericized and so companies like band-aid have made certain to call themselves band-aid brand so you know that it’s a company behind it not the actual article itself copyrights so copyrights protect an artist right an artist it comes up with their own mind their own creation but a certain you know representation the only requirement for copyright is it actually has to be fixed in a tangible means meaning you have to build a record it somehow whether it’s you know a song or it’s a artwork right it’s on a canvas or it’s a publication the writing it’s got to be stored and either digitally or in physical hardcopy so that it can be fixed and it’s knowable and you have the ability to prevent anyone else from making copies of that without your permission as soon as this pen put to paper registration for copyrights allows you a de facto legal principle it’s called the prima facie evidence meaning before a judge you don’t need to go back and prove who wrote it or who pood was the artist when they did it and what it can contained that’s all preserved in the Copyright Office once you have it registered the duration for a copyrights is 70 years plus the life of the author so the author the artist passes away the the rule is that they get 70 years of additional rights to allow their heirs to fully benefit from our predecessor the potential you know rationale and policy reason for this oftentimes with art it takes a long time sometimes for people to realize the real value and the beneficial nature of their creation and so it’s not just when the original artist dies it’s there their life Plus 70 years trade secrets so what’s funny about trade secrets is that kind of like trademarks is they can also last forever so long as the secret remains a secret in order to have a trade secret three things have to be true and not known by the general public you have to be making efforts to keep it secret and it must be economically valuable to a competitor right those three things right not known by the pub you’re making progress toward keeping it secret or you’re making efforts to keep a secret and the third is that you’re that it’s economically valuable so those two elements combined mean you’ve got a trade secret and as long as that is the case technically you can have a trade secret forever and that’s why many companies and inventors decide you know what this is not something that’s gonna be easily reverse engineered and so instead of seeking a patent on my recipe for coca-cola I’m gonna keep that in-house and that they have done right for over a hundred years nobody quite knows how they make coca-cola and it’sa lasted for that amount of time and will continue to be a trade secret a valuable protection for anyone that has parts of knowledge or the entire knowledge of that secret method or process the only real problem for them maybe is that if employees decide to you know leave the company and start their own company and misappropriate those trade secrets or steal them last but not least there is also this category of privacy law within intellectual property and so I want to bring up briefly this concept of image and likeness the image and likeness is most important for those famous individuals and for those people they have the ability to prevent others from making copies making money in essence commercializing their own image right and so photographs movies even cartoon impressions of their likeness are impermissible meaning you cannot simply use that for example that well-known sky Michael Jordan slam dunk image is a silhouette that linked Nike licenses from the Jordan estate that’s recognizable as Michael Jordan his slam dunk that’s his likeness it’s actually different than trademarks it’s certainly not patents related it’s not copyright nor is it trade secret it’s His image and likeness and so you can actually have a separate realm of intellectual property related to the way up you look another good example is Colonel Sanders right his face is on the front of the building because it’s it’s more of his likeness it’s not necessarily having to do with the brand its him as an individual so it’s a way to extend and the intellectual property beyond the trademark itself to actually calling upon an individual’s rights and that’s another way to to benefit the duration to allow there to be more time that can be controlled by the company so I hope you enjoyed this lesson of how long patents trademarks copyrights and trade secrets and images and likenesses can last I’m JD Hooven ur CEO and Managing Partner here at bold IP we’re here to help so if you have questions you thought through you listen to this video and you’re still stretching your head with with some something wasn’t quite clear put it in the comment below we’ll be able to get back to you as soon as we can and we’ll give you that feedback they were hoping for I hope you enjoyed this video make sure to grab our free book and schedule your no-cost consultation today alright everybody take care and have a good day go big go bold


About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at