Intellectual Property

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What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property deals with the legal rights of things that are often intangible. There are three main components to intellectual property: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents. Each of these branches offer different forms of legal protections that serve to protect different forms of work, developments, and projects. If you have a product, idea, or any other unique material, you may be considering a way to safeguard and protect this development. Unfortunately, intellectual property law can be complex and difficult to understand. Based on the nature of the project you are attempting to secure it may be difficult to adequately petition for its preservation.

Copyright Law

Copyright law is a type of security supported in the United States Constitution. In 1976, the Copyright Act was passed which gave exclusive rights to those who held copyright ownership of a product. The legal rights given to these owners allowed for flexibility so that owners may determine how they wanted to profit from the copyrighted project. Granted by law, copyright serves to protect original works of production set in a definable medium of expression. Copyright law serves to protect published as well as unpublished works. This could include: writings, design, music, movies, books, drawings, paintings and software, among others. Copyright law gives the content creator or legal assignee the exclusive right to the following:

  • The ability to publish the work
  • The freedom to print, or reprint the work
  • The freedom to perform the work
  • The ability to make a film production about the work
  • The freedom to allow other parties to do the same

Trademarks

When a party is attempting to petition for a trademark, it is usually registering:

  • The name of a company, tool, or other object
  • A phrase
  • A logo or drawing that represents, identifies, or helps to distinguish a service or product from other similar services or products

A trademark can be registered under the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It can also be established by the regular use of it in the appropriate marketplace. One of the main focuses of trademark law is the effort to prevent consumer misperception. This allows the owner of the trademark to file a lawsuit against an infringing party.

Patents

A patent is a license or legal right given to an inventor or organization that allows this party to produce, sell, utilize, and even import an invention. This is only given to the party for a set limited time. Having a patent on an invention allows the inventor or organization the legal right to file suit against any infringing party. It is important to note that there are various different categories of patents available, which depend on the type of the invention. For more information, an interested party can visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to obtain the various application forms.

Hiring an Attorney

It is important to know that the different categories of intellectual property can be complex and difficult to understand. Not all require a formal petition or form, in order to fully understand intellectual property as it pertains to your efforts, consult with a qualified and experienced intellectual property attorney. With the guidance and support of a business attorney, you could save valuable time and money by understanding what petitions and forms you will need to complete.

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