What is the next step I should take to protect my idea? 5 Answers as of August 13, 2011

I had what I thought was an original idea, I first because I was looking to purchase one. Couldn't find one. I then wrote the idea in abstract but sufficient detail, and emailed it to myself. I then searched more and found something similar but much more complex and not exactly like mine. It said it was trademarked. I've done a patent, trademark, and copywrite search on the name and have found nothing. Before I pursue this idea, I need to know if I'm searching correctly and what I need to do exactly to secure my idea.

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Intellectual Property Center, LLC
Intellectual Property Center, LLC | Ak Shaf
It looks like you have spent some time reviewing the information you can find yourself. i would suggest contacting a patent attorney to discuss your invention and the costs to preform a preliminary patentability search.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/13/2011
The Law Offices of Mark Trenner
The Law Offices of Mark Trenner | Mark Trenner
Patents, trademarks, and copyrights protect very different types of intellectual property. A patent attorney can help you understand this distinction better. Briefly, trademarks protect the name/logo/design used in connection with the sale of goods or services. Quoting from the US Copyright website, copyrights protect ". . . original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed." This is an important distinction. Trademarks or copyrights will not protect an invention. So doing a search for trademarks, or a search for copyrights, will not be of much help in determining whether an invention can be protected. For inventions, there are patents. Retaining a patent attorney for advice and assistance as soon as possible is critical so as not to lose important rights to an invention. A patent attorney can help with a prior art search, and help interpret the results of the prior art search to determine whether an invention might be something that can be protected with a patent. A patent attorney can also explain what to do and what not to do to maintain rights in an invention.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/13/2011
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
It sounds like you have spent a lot of your own time researching and searching. I recommend that you contact a patent attorney and explain the situation, and pay for 30 minutes of advice. That should steer you in the right direction.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 7/13/2011
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
From the wording of you question I feel that you need professional help. You are confused with a lot of the processes - search - filing - drafting - trademarks, patents copyrights, etc. Consult a local patent attorney.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/12/2011
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
You probably are not searching correctly. Further, if you found something similar protected by trademark your idea may be covered by the prior art. The next and only step is to retain counsel.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/12/2011
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