There is often confusion when it comes to patents, trademarks or copyright. A patent is meant to protect a new product or design, often referred to as an invention. Whereas copyright refers to the protection of intellectual property, patents aim to protect a new design or invention. Website designers often wonder if they can patent their design, and if so, how to go about it.
Website designers may patent their work by following a few basic steps. If this is a complicated process that you have no experience in, you can always ask for professional assistance. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark website.
If you want to patent a website, one of the first things you can do is to visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark website to find valuable resources. You need to show proof of an invention or a concept that distinctly belongs to you, and it has to be something that do not belong to anyone else. The website concept or design that you want to patent will need to be fully realized on the web and, if infringed by someone else, will result in a financial loss for you. You can apply for a patent and submit tangible proof in order to be granted the patent. In some cases you might be awarded copyright, instead of a patent.
Apply for Copyright
Apply for a copyright at the United States Copyright Office. You can visit their website and apply by electronically clicking on “How to Register a Work”. You only need to fill in one form, called a CO. Fill out this form and complete all the required information. You can always try to copyright your website as a whole, which is the best option to go for as it will protect your entire site. However, you can definitely copyright individual articles, images and other media.
Apply for a Trademark
You can apply for a trademark on the name of your website by visiting the U.S. Patent and Trademark website, as mentioned earlier. You should first do a search to see if the name isn’t already trademarked, and if not, you can click on “Where Do I Start” so that you can access the “Trademark Electronic Application.” If your chosen name is unique and well-known, you might easily get a trademark, especially if use by anyone else might infringe upon your financial security.
Keep in mind that there might be fees involved, so make sure that you familiarize yourself with the process first. If you need help, you can ask a professional for assistance, especially if you are going into a new business venture or a partnership. To patent your website might be a good idea, especially if you have put a lot of work into your website and use a design that is unique and popular.
Lorien Roux is an entrepreneur and writer for PatentLookup.com.au, a free, robust for Australian patent applications.