People design because they are creative, not because they are experts in patent law. Still, to prevent your ideas from being ripped off it’s necessary to know something about patents, copyright, and trademarks.
In the video below, John Sanders of Sanders Machine Works discusses intellectual property (IP) law with Ty Kendrick, an Ohio attorney who specializes in patents and trademarks. Sanders’ interest in IP springs from his experience as a designer whose products have been copied by others.
The conversation begins with Sanders expressing his belief that as a small business person, he lacks the resources to sue all of the people who might copy his products—and given that constraint, it’s more important to “crush it” when executing his product and business plan than it is to patent his ideas.
Kendrick says there’s some logic to what Sanders is saying but points out that it’s not a black and white issue; there are things you can do to protect your IP that fall short of a patent. They go on to discuss design and utility patents, how trademarks (and their subcategory—trade dress) can be used to fend off counterfeiters, and the importance of timing in protecting your ideas.
It’s a wide ranging conversation and there’s likely to be something in it you haven’t heard before.