Navigating the world of Intellectual Property – especially when it comes to software – is a tricky business. Everyone seems to have an opinion, but few people seem to know the facts. The truth is there are reasons both to pursue intellectual property rights and reasons not to.
Either way, you’ll want to weigh your options with more reliable sources than the latest Facebook headline. Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there to help you understand IP issues and make some decisions.
This Insider’s Guide to Protection points out some of the resources that are freely available to you. I offer this list for those feeling overwhelmed by the conflicting opinions out there. These sites will help you can gain a rudimentary insight and understanding of the issues surrounding intellectual properties. And in particular, issues regarding the controversial realm of software.
We want to help you ask the right questions – so that you can make the right IP decisions. It is not intended to replace actual and specific legal advice, which I strongly recommend you obtain whether you opt to file for IP rights or not.
Patent Organization Sites
United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO)
The United States Patent & Trademark Office is the official website for patent and trademark laws and processes in the U.S. Anyone considering filing for intellectual property rights should start with a patent or trademark search here. You’ll also find articles on IP trends and policies, e-learning courses, and even an official registry for patent attorneys and agents. Some pages you might find useful:
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
The World Intellectual Property Organization is a global forum for intellectual property laws, policies, and cooperation. Here you’ll find information specific to the global market, how patent laws differ from country to country, and how to enforce your IP rights. International cooperation is a major theme here, plus they offer a free database of international IP laws. Some of the pages to check out are:
International Intellectual Property Law Association (IIPLA)
The International Intellectual Property Law Association is another resource focusing on IP in the international community. While membership is restricted to lawyers and those involved in intellectual property law, they provide social media access and forums anyone can follow with a free registration. A focus here is on the latest policies and current news, with video footage from their live events.
IP Policy & Blog Sites
IPWatchdog is a stellar website blog dedicated to intellectual property issues. Here you’ll find news and opinion on all sorts of IP topics, including the latest insights and commentary on what’s going on in the IP world. Software is a major focus here, so you’ll definitely want to bookmark this site. A few pages you won’t want to miss:
The Patently-O website is a traditional blog site that dives deep into current patent policies and issues. Here you’ll find expert insights on current topics as well as actual cases decided in the courts. Google v. Oracle: Fair Use of a Copyrighted API is just one example of relevant commentary you won’t want to miss.
You already know about our well-read resource, the Ascendle blog. We’ve written a number of features on software and intellectual property rights. In case you missed them, here’s a sample:
IP Legal Sites
Nolo Press provides books and information on a variety of legal topics. They aim to be a one-stop-shop for all your legal information needs. They offer a wide range of free do-it-yourself articles and advice in addition to the books and software available for purchase. Some of the relevant pages include:
- Patent, Copyright & Trademark topic
- Understanding Patent Applications
- Trade Secrets and Nondisclosures
- How to Protect Your Invention When Pitching It
- Local Law Firm Search
LegalZoom is the WebMD of legal websites. It boasts a powerful search engine with many pages specific to trademarks and patents. You can even find a few software specific topics like mobile apps. They also offer paid services for searching and filing your trademark and patent applications.
Patent Analysis & Research Software
The Patent Information Users Group is part wiki and part forum and you can find just about anything you want to know about patents here. In addition, they offer a terrific list of Patent Analysis, Mapping, and Visualization tools.
According to their website: “AcclaimIP helps patent owners, patent researchers, and intellectual property law firms create better patents, assess the competition’s patent portfolio, and identify the most valuable patents in any portfolio.”
This company offers a variety of IP-related software products such as IdeaScout, PatentScout, and PatentIQ. You can also find an array of free premium content, such as white papers, patent case studies, and their Buyer’s Guide for Selecting Patent Search and Analysis Software.