• Credit: Joshua Kretchmer

Protecting Intellectual Property

Depending on your research and the type of technology or software disclosed, a member of our team can help guide you through the process of how Caltech obtains protections for its intellectual property (IP).

IP can be protected in various ways. For instance,

  • Patents provide a grant of property rights on new, useful, and nonobvious inventions. Patents exclude others from making, using, selling, or offering to sell or import your invention for up to 20 years.
  • Copyrights protect works of authorship such as software code, writings, works of art, etc. that have been tangibly expressed. Copyrights can be registered with the Library of Congress and they last the life of the author plus 50 years.
  • Trademarks cover words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services. They can be renewed forever as long as they are being used. Please contact Caltech's Office of the General Counsel (OGC) for questions about trademarks.
  • Trade Secrets are information that is kept secret by companies in order to give them a competitive advantage. Trade secrets are very rarely used in academic settings.