Do you have to patent or copyright your app and website or do you automatically own it? 6 Answers as of January 16, 2014

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Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
If your work is novel/original, you automatically own it. For patent protection, you will need to submit an application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Copyright protect ensues at the time your idea is fixed in a permanent medium and you can also register it with the U.S. Copyright Office in the Library of Congress.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 1/16/2014
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
The ownership of your website is a complex question. It depends on who developed it and what type of agreement you with them regarding the ownership of the intellectual property rights. The artistic aspects of it have automatic copyright protection for the one who created it. There are no free patents ever!
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 1/16/2014
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
You are the inventor or creator of app and or website for the artistic creation. A patent application must be filed with the patent office. If the application is allowed then it will issue as a patent. For a copyright you should file an application with the copyright office to receive official notification of the copyright. Neither is "automatic".
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/16/2014
Webb IP Law Group
Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
If you are the author, then you will automatically own the creative content (but not the functional content) that you authored. However, your ability to enforce your rights will be very limited. You generally want to file for protection to enhance those rights.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 1/16/2014
Brown & Michaels PC | Michael F. Brown
Patent and copyright are two different things. Copyright covers works of authorship or artistry - in other words, the code for your app or your website. You don't have to "copyright" the code. You have a copyright automatically as soon as the work is created, although it's a good idea to register the copyright. Note that it's the author of the code who owns the copyright, so if you paid a web designer or programmer to write the code, make sure they assign their copyright to you (unless they're your employees, in which case you, as the employer, own the copyright automatically as a "work for hire").
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 1/16/2014
    Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
    When you create an app and/or website - you own it under the US copyright laws. If the app is (1) new, (2) useful and (3) non-obvious - you could also seek US utility patent protection for it. The "look" of a website might be further protected by the US design patent laws - if it meets requirements (1), (2) and (3).
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 1/16/2014
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