How to protect my creation in the absence of a patent?

Written by | October 31, 2023

Intellectual Property

We often speak to clients who have created an interesting product, or process, however, are having difficulties with patent protection (either because the invention doesn’t meet the threshold for patent protection, or because the process is too lengthy or costly to invest in). So, does that mean that your invention has no protection in the eyes of intellectual property rights? Absolutely not.

In this blog, we will explore the world of intellectual property rights in the absence of a patent. We will delve into alternative methods of safeguarding your innovations and creations, ensuring that your hard work remains exclusive to you.


Copyright is one of the most common forms of intellectual property protection for creative works. It covers a wide range of creations, including literary works, music, art, and software. Copyright automatically protects your work as soon as it is created and fixed in a tangible medium.

Advantages of Copyright:

  • Protection is granted from the moment of creation.
  • Copyright holders have exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and publicly display their work.
  • It lasts for the creator’s lifetime plus an additional 70 years, promoting long-term protection.


  • Copyright does not cover ideas, facts, or functional aspects of a work.
  • It may not prevent others from creating similar works independently.

Trade Marks

Trade marks are essential for protecting brands, logos, and distinctive symbols that distinguish your products or services from others in the market. While trademarks primarily focus on branding, they can also extend to unique product features.

Advantages of trade marks:

  • Protection helps build brand recognition and trust.
  • Trade marks can be renewed indefinitely as long as they are actively used.
  • They allow you to take legal action against others who use similar marks that might confuse consumers.


  • Trade marks must be actively used in commerce to maintain protection.
  • Registering a trademark can be a lengthy and costly process.

Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are a valuable form of protection for confidential business information. They can encompass a wide range of data, including customer lists, manufacturing processes, and marketing strategies.

Advantages of Trade Secrets:

  • Trade secrets can provide indefinite protection as long as they remain confidential.
  • They do not require registration, which can save time and money.
  • You have the flexibility to determine how to protect your information.


  • Once a trade secret is disclosed or becomes widely known, it loses protection.
  • Enforcing trade secret protection can be challenging.

Contracts and Agreements

Contracts and agreements are legal instruments that can protect your intellectual property in various scenarios. Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and licensing agreements are commonly used to safeguard ideas, inventions, and creative works.

Advantages of Contracts and Agreements:

  • You have control over the terms and conditions of protection.
  • They can be tailored to specific situations and parties.
  • Enforcing a breach of contract can lead to legal remedies.


  • Contracts and agreements require cooperation from all parties involved.
  • They may not provide the same level of protection as patents in some cases.


While patents offer strong protection for inventions and innovations, there are alternative methods to safeguard your intellectual property in their absence. Copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and well-crafted contracts can all serve as valuable tools for maintaining the exclusivity of your creations and ideas. It’s essential to understand the strengths and limitations of each approach and choose the one that best suits your unique needs and circumstances. By doing so, you can ensure that your intellectual property remains protected and that you continue to reap the benefits of your hard work and creativity.

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