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Property Rights

What gives you the right to your idea? We'll tell you.

You've heard the terms: patent, trademark and copyright. You've seen the symbols: ®, (TM) and ©. But do you really know what they mean? Your ideas are known as "intellectual property"--and if you want your ideas to remain under your control, you need to protect them. Here are some basic facts about the different types of intellectual property protection available to you under U.S. laws, in response to common questions I've received from readers:

Tomima Edmark, the woman famous for her Topsy Tail invention has now turned her creative talents to the competitive retail arena of intimate apparel, HerRoom and HisRoom.

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This article was originally published in the January 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Property Rights.

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