What Is the Duration of Intellectual Property Protection?

What Is the Duration of Intellectual Property Protection?

Intellectual property protection is essential for inventors and businesses to protect their innovations and creative works. However, a common question among creatives is, how long do patents last? The duration of this protection depends on whether the intellectual property is a patent, trademark, or copyright. If you need patent help to understand these time frames and manage your intellectual property rights, here’s a breakdown of how long each type of protection lasts and what you need to know to make an informed decision.

Patent Protection Duration

There are several types of patents, each offering a certain level of protection for a specific time. Utility patents protect inventions that have a specific function and last for 17 to 20 years from the filing date. To keep a utility patent in force, the patent holder pays maintenance fees regularly over the lifespan of the patent, failure to which can lead to expiration before its maximum term.

Design patents are also common and protect the aesthetic design of an item. Unlike utility patents, they have a shorter duration of 14 years from the filing date. Fortunately, design patents do not require maintenance fees to maintain protection.

Trademark Protection Duration

Now that you know how long patents can last, trademarks are also viable alternatives. Trademarks protect words, phrases, symbols, and designs identifying the source of goods or services. In the United States, an active trademark can last indefinitely. However, to maintain the rights, the trademark owner must continue to use it and file specific documents to keep the registration alive. Initially, a trademark registration is valid for ten years, and it can be renewed for an additional 10-year period.

Copyright Protection Duration

The final intellectual property protection is copyright, which protects original works of authors, including published and non-published intellectual works like literature, music and drama. Copyright lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death. Works with multiple authors, the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author dies.

As an investor, understanding the duration of intellectual property protection is vital to maximizing the benefits they offer. Whether it’s a patent, trademark, or copyright, knowing how long your rights last can help you plan for the future and ensure that your innovations and creative works are protected for the appropriate amount of time. Consult All In One Inventions to learn more about how long can patents last and continue enjoying the rewards of your intellectual property.

Explore All Blog