Should I file for a patent or a copyright to protect my product? 5 Answers as of November 18, 2010

I invented a new type of fertilizer, and I want to protect my intellectual property. However, I am unsure whether to file for a patent or a copyright. Do I file for a patent for the fertilizer itself? Or do I file for a copyright of the formula for the fertilizer?

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Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
Copyright protects against copying, derivating, performing, publishing and distributing of original expressions of ideas (books, paintings, computer programs, etc). One cannot ideas themselves in copyright law, only expressions of ideas. The only ways to protect the intellectual property of ideas, product, methods, etc are patents and trade secrets. So if you want to stop others from knocking off your fertilizer formula, you need to file a patent application. Note that although it is legal for an individual to file his/her own patent application, it is a terrible idea. In 20 years of practice I've almost never seen it done well. Get yourself a good, cost-effective patent attorney or agent.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/18/2010
Kafantaris Law Group
Kafantaris Law Group | Theo Kafantaris
You should file for a patent in this case. A copyright would be better suited for works of art, literature, etc.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/17/2010
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
A utility patent.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 11/17/2010
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
Copyrights do not protect ideas including formulas that represent a process by which a product such as a fertilizer is made, only patents do. Therefore, you can only protect your product via one or more patents.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/16/2010
Devon & Associates
Devon & Associates | Marcia A. Devon
You must file a utility patent application for your new composition of fertilizer. You could consider filing a provisional (utility) application if you would prefer to spread the cost of the preparing and filing the patent application over a longer period of time.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/16/2010
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