Which Type of Intellectual Property Should I Apply For?

In order to determine which type(s) of intellectual property you need, let's illustrate an example using an oven mitt. Let’s say you made an improvement from a basic oven mitt. Different types of innovation require different protection.

Unique design, same function

(oven mitt shaped like a dog)

The value of your innovation lies in the design - the way it looks - so you should apply for a design patent.

Same basic design, improved function

(oven mitt with traction strips to improve grippability)

The value of your innovation lies in the way it works - so you should apply for a utility patent.

Are you trying to name, brand or market an oven mitt?

(oven mitt shaped like a dog)

The value is in your name, logo or slogan because it is how potential customers know your brand and reputation, so to protect it, you should apply for a trademark.

Did you make an original creative work related to oven mitts?

(oven mitt shaped like a dog)

The value is in your creative work because it is an expression unique to you. You should apply for a copyright.