Many small and medium business owners don't know the difference between trademark and copyright, patent and trademark, or design patent and trademark--much less which of these types of IP they actually own. As a result, many business owners miss out on the competitive advantages that come hand-in-hand with their IP rights. They miss out on potentially lucrative opportunities because they don't know how to leverage their IP assets. The United State Patent and Trademark Office has recognized this common ailment and come to the rescue with the Intellectual Property Awareness Assessment Tool.

The IP Awareness Tool assesses one's IP knowledge, identifies holes in that knowledge, and then directs the participant to resources to help shore up those deficiencies. The tool is a great way for people to learn what they don't know. As I took the assessment, I could see how each category of IP was assessed with simple, non-legalese questions. I would recommend to any business owner who is not sure of what IP she may own to take the assessment.

The assessment includes the following categories:

  • IP Strategies & Best Practices
  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights
  • Design Patents
  • Trade Secrets
  • Utility Patents
  • Using Technology of Others
  • Licensing Technology to Others
  • International IP Rights
  • IP Asset Tracking

After you have taken the assessment, please let me know through the Contact Page what areas you lack knowledge in (responses will be kept confidential), and I will write blog posts in the future to help you out!

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Do you have an intellectual property question? Submit it on the Contact Page. All questions are anonymous. After you submit it, look for an answer in future blog posts!