Intellectual property is the idea and concept that “ideas” can be proprietary. This is to create an incentive for individuals to create exciting new ideas, in order for those ideas to in turn benefit the individual. This process is accomplished through the use of patents, which give official ownership and outlines exactly what is covered. There are a few caveats though, ownership is limited. Additionally, you don’t own the idea forever. A patent typically only lasts about 20 years. But, for that time period, you theoretically have a monopoly on that mark, allowing for huge profits. Of course, that isn’t without limits. Other companies and individuals can “improve” or alter upon your idea to create their own and get a patent on that idea, which will subsequently cut into your monopoly.
To get a patent, one must talk to a patent or IP agent or lawyer in order to get a firm grasp on the laws in your specific area.
Patent law is exceedingly complex, and it can be somewhat costly to get one. That is why you need to conduct a comprehensive analysis to determine if the costs are worth it. One way this can be accomplished is through a free consultation; most lawyers offer either a half hour or one full hour of free consultation to potential new clients. In this time frame, you can get a solid idea of whether or not it is worth proceeding. Even after you have the patent, it will cost money in order to maintain the patents (often more than costs to originally acquire the patent).
If you want to find a patent lawyer, you need to be very thorough in the process. For example, if you were looking for a patent lawyer from Edmonton, Alberta, you could use a directory, a referral, or a Google search. You can use a variety of other methods as well. One solid rule though is to have multiple consultations with different lawyers, and listen to your gut feeling.