Norwalk, OH asked in Copyright, Patents (Intellectual Property) and Trademark for Ohio

Q: I created a class and would like to get it protected but dont know what I need.

Do I need a patent, trademark, or copyright?

2 Lawyer Answers
Will Blackton
Will Blackton
Answered
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Raleigh, NC

A: What type of class? How is the class material presented?

It's likely that copyright is the appropriate type of protection, but it's unclear without more information.

Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Kevin E. Flynn
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: You can protect the content (handouts, teaching notes, PowerPoint slides, etc.) by copyright. If you have come up with a catchy name for your program (like Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics) you can protect that with a trademark.

For both copyright and trademark there are state law rights and enhanced rights with Federal registration. But the federal path costs some additional money.

It would be unusual to have a device or special method that would meet the strict standards for getting a patent (including being novel and being a non-obvious combination of earlier analogous solutions). Maybe the mechanical device that accelerated the view pane moving down over lines of text to teach you to speed read phrases without moving your lips would have qualified years ago.

You can find slides from my October 2016 presentation at the You Grow Girl Annual Business Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. Discussion of various intellectual property forms and how to use them to protect the competitive advantage that makes a business special. http://bit.ly/Protecting_Advantages

In the proper situation, it may be appropriate to seek two or more types of intellectual property protection.

Note -- separate and apart from these issues, there is the issue on whether your employer owns the work product that you created. This varies widely from industry to industry and employer to employer. However, in many situations, the output from people paid to create is owned by their employer whether the person is an engineer, reporter, or other creative person.

Talking to a competent attorney and presenting the relevant documents and handbooks from your employment would be a good next step.

Kevin

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.