What information do you need to file for a copyright?

What information do you need to file for a copyright?

    • Date and creation of the work.
    • Date of first publication.
    • Was the work for hire? Usually this is work done by an employee. If there is an agreement that a work will be treated as a work for hire, the following specially ordered works can become works for hire: a work as a compilation or pre-existing materials, part of a motion picture or audiovisual work, translation, supplementary work, instructional text or answer material, atlases.

Note that this list does not include ordinary art or writing, hired out, or architect’s plans made for a client. That work is not “work made for hire.” It belongs to the creator, unless it is assigned to the hiring party.

  • Is this a derivative work? A derivative work is a new version of something else. If the work is merely a variation, the underlying work must be copyrighted. Slight variations do not necessarily need to have separate copyrights, but if there are major changes, a separate copyright may be obtained. However, a new variation of an old uncopyrighted version may not be copyrightable.
  • Is the work entirely original, or is it a compilation or collection that has unique qualities because of your arrangement?
  • Year of completion.

Providing Copyright Notice

How do I provide proper notice that a work is copyrighted?

  • Proper notice has the © symbol of the word “Copyright,” the name of the owner of the copyright, and the date of first publication. The date of first publication is when the work was made public, not when it was created.
  • Proper copyright notice should be placed on all works in an obvious place. For designs in clothing, as close to the artwork as possible. For printed publications, on the title page or its equivalent. For software, on the title screen and on any printed material.

Useful Intellectual Property Resorces

Mr. Shaver’s Bicycle Technology Blog
Mr. Shaver’s Outdoor Technology Blog
Mr. Shaver’s History of Technology Blog

USPTO/Library of Congress

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Home Page
USPTO Patents Home Page
USPTO Trademarks Home Page
U.S. Copyright Office Home Page

Google Patent Search
IBM Intellectual Property Network
Searching Online U.S. Copyright Office Records


FindLaw Case Law Federal Circuit

FindLaw Idaho
Idaho State Bar
Idaho Secretary of State
Idaho Trademark Forms
Boise Public Library
ID State Law Library

U of I Library
BSU Library
Ada Community Library

Law Dictionary
Google Language Translator


U.S. Customs Service Official Web Site

Markets & investing Currencies
Currency Converter


National Inventor Fraud Center

How to keep an inventor’s notebook

If I want to keep an inventor’s notebook (or “log book”), what should be in it?

  • The record of the invention should be sufficiently detailed to allow a person who is of average skill in the art to read it and understand the entire invention. Always relate critical details, such as specific frequencies, dimensions, etc. Include sketches, photos, blueprints, printouts, data plots, and other pertinent information.
  • Make sure that these things are integrated into a notebook and organized.
  • Make the disclosure clear, definite and well organized. It should be easy to read and follow.
  • The record should be made contemporaneously with the activities being recorded.
  • Use a bound notebook with numbered pages, always write in ink, strike mistakes out with a single line, do not leave blank pages, and store the notebook in a safe, dry place. Keep your notebook away from food, drinks and your dog.
  • Include records of failures as well as successes. Explain why you think you failed, as well as why you think you succeeded.
  • Have your records read by two other people who are not co-inventors and preferably who do not have an interest in the invention. Each person should state, in writing, that they have read and understood the foregoing disclosure, then sign and date their statements.
  • The general format of the notebook should include a statement of the problem which you are trying to solve, your proposed solution, all problems encountered, your final solution, possible uses, possible modifications, other possible solutions, and any other areas of interest or significance.
  • Avoid statements such as “I thought the obvious solution was to try X, so that’s why we did.” What you think of as being obvious or simply applying a well known solution in a slightly different manner may not be obvious in the eyes of the patent law. Such a statement might possibly be used to defeat any patent which is subsequently granted.
  • Specific guidelines:
    • Include descriptions of all equipment used;
    • Include results, photos, printouts, charts, plots, etc.;
    • Include conclusions, problems encountered, possible modifications and potential applications;
    • State when and where the experiment was carried out;
    • State the names of all people present and all who contributed and participated; and
    • Include test data sufficient to demonstrate that the invention worked.

What does “Patent Pending” or “Pat. Pend.” mean?


  • Patent pending means that the person or manufacturer is giving notice that some kind of patent application has been filed for some portion of the object on which the words appear.
  • It is illegal to mark a product or invention as patented if it has not been patented, or as patent pending if no patent application is on file with the Patent and Trademark Office.
  • Patent pending affords you no legal rights. However, most reputable businesses and people will not infringe upon an item which has a patent pending. They know in the long run that it is probably cheaper to either buy the rights from you or to wait to determine what patent rights will be awarded, if any. This de facto coverage can provide a significant competitive advantage for new products.
  • The patent pending period is one of the most marketable times for the rights to an invention. Manufacturers can utilize the period of patent pending to get a jump on their competitors. This is possible because the applications are held in secrecy. (However, in the future, the Patent Office may start publishing patent applications after they have been on file for 18 months). No one else can know what kind of patent you’ve applied for, or how broad the protection you will receive, if any at all.
  • By way of analogy, claiming patent pending is like posting no trespassing signs on a lot you are in the process of buying, but do not own yet. Most people will stay off the lot, but if someone does challenge you, you must wait until you own it before having legal grounds for excluding them. If the sale falls through, of course, you don’t have any right to exclude.

How long do trademark rights last?

How long do trademark rights last?

  • First, the continued validity of a trademark registration is dependent upon actual use of the trademark. In this sense, trademarks are not true property rights in that an express, or circumstantially proven, permanent intention to abandon the trademark is sufficient grounds to cancel a federal trademark registration.
  • Trademark rights can also be lost through dilution. Dilution commonly occurs where competitors adopt very similar trademarks and the trademark holder takes no action to defend the mark.
  • Another means of losing trademark rights occurs when the trademark becomes so identified with the particular, precise goods to the point where the mark loses its distinctiveness and instead becomes a generic descriptive term. An example most people are familiar with is aspirin, which was originally a trademark (owned by Bayer), but became so identified with acetylsalicylic acid tablets that it eventually turned into a generic term. Other companies are fighting to keep their trademarks from being found generic. These include Xerox ® for photocopiers.
  • An actively used trademark can continue to exist, increase in value to the company, and increase the sales and profits of the company for an unlimited period of time.