With the New Year Comes New IP Identifier Tool From USPTO
Posted on Jan 26, 2023 in Articles
On January 18, 2023, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the launch of a new tool designed to help creators, inventors and business owners identify and protect their intellectual property rights.
According to the USPTO press release announcing the launch, the new tool, fittingly named the Intellectual Property (IP) Identifier, is a “user-friendly, virtual resource— designed for those who are less familiar with IP— [that] enables users to identify whether they have IP and the IP protections they need to support and advance their business, invention, or brand.”
Accessible via the USPTO’s website, the new tool is comprised of two distinct modules: The Basic IP Identifier and the Advanced IP Identifier. As the name suggests, the Basic IP Identifier is the simpler of the two modules. It is a short survey comprised of six yes-or-no questions accompanied by examples to help users understand the questions being asked. Upon completing the questionnaire, users are presented with a brief summary indicating whether they may own one or more of six kinds of intellectual property, including copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, design patents, utility patents, and/or plant patents.
The Advanced IP Identifier tool is more extensive. Whereas the Basic IP Identifier is designed to help users identify what type(s) of intellectual property they may own, the Advanced IP Identifier educates users on the benefits of owning that particular type of IP and offers tips on how to protect it. Users of the Advanced module are first asked to identify which of six types of intellectual property they believe they own and are subsequently presented with four to ten questions specific to each of the selected types.
Although not yet available, a third module, called “Tips for managing your IP assets,” is currently under development for those interested in learning more about how to manage their IP.
Despite being in its infancy, the IP Identifier may prove to be a valuable tool for creators, inventors and business owners everywhere. “Protecting your IP is a smart and necessary business strategy,” advised Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director Kathi Vidal while announcing the launch of the new tool at the USPTO Women’s Entrepreneur event in Naples, Florida. The benefits of proper IP management and protection cannot be overstated. According to USPTO statistics:
When used as collateral, a company’s first patent increases venture capital funding by 76 percent over three years and increases funding from an initial public offering by 128 percent. It can also help serve as a recruiting tool: The approval of a startup’s first patent application increases its employee growth by 36 percent over the next five years. Further, protecting your IP can also increase your market share – a new company with a patent increases its sales by a cumulative 80 percent more than companies that do not have a patent.
For any creator or inventor, identifying the existence and ownership of intellectual property rights is a crucial first step in managing, protecting and monetizing those rights. While the IP Identifier may be helpful in achieving that purpose, users should be mindful of the USPTO’s disclaimer advising that the information provided by the tool does not constitute legal advice. That is where our firm can assist. After using the IP Identifier to get an idea of what intellectual property you may own, our attorneys at Caesar Rivise, PC can work with you to devise a strategic, personalized plan for managing and protecting your IP rights.