Protecting your innovation

Once a decision has been made to commercialize an invention, the next step is to protect the intellectual property surrounding it. Intellectual property protection comes in the form of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and plant variety protection, or PVP, certificates.

Depending on the form of intellectual property disclosed in your invention, path to the protection can be handled via the following.


A patent provides the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention for the term of the patent.


A copyright legally protects a work from being reproduced, performed, displayed, or otherwise disseminated without the permission of the copyright owner.


A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify his or her goods and distinguish them from others.

Plant Variety

The Plant Variety Protection Office, or PVPO, provides protection to breeders of new varieties of seeds and tubers.

Step 4: Marketing