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Intellectual Property

Intellectual property law comprises four main types of intellectual property: patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Intellectual property (IP) lawyers may specialize in one or more sub-specialties of intellectual property law, including copyright law, patent law, trademark law, infringement law and more.

Once you have obtained intellectual property rights, an IP law firm and/or a patent law firm can protect your rights, from patent litigation to litigation involving trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, fraudulent advertising, unfair competition, and e-commerce IP such as domain name disputes. An intellectual property lawyer can evaluate cases involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, franchising, technology rights, data rights, internet law and invention development.

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Patents

PatentsPatents are property and patent rights can be licensed and sold. To obtain a patent, your invention must be useful and novel (i.e., not previously known or used), and you must be able to describe it in your patent application. Patents are granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a branch of the Department of Commerce, for inventions of new and useful compositions, machines, and articles of manufacture or processes.

A patent has 3 basic parts:
  1. A grant
  2. A description ("specification") telling how to make the invention, and
  3. Claims (defining, in words, what is protected).
A Patent Specification--or description--generally includes four main components:
  1. Background (describing the technical field of the invention and the problems that existed before the invention,
  2. Drawings (usually required) showing the invention; and
  3. Detailed Description(enables readers to make and use invention and shows best mode known to inventor at time of filing - i.e. satisfies statutory duties under 35 U.S.C.112)
  4. Claims, which define, in words, the limits of coverage claimed by the inventor.

Patent Law

A US patent grants the owner the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the patented invention in the US for seventeen years from the date the patent is granted. If you have a patent issue, you should contact a patent law firm. Patent lawyers must specifically apply for and be given patent bar licenses before they can practice in patent law. A patent lawyer can help with the following:
  • Investigate and analyze all technical areas, including opinions on questions of patentability, infringement, permissive design around, state-of-the-art, and due diligence studies;
  • Procure US and foreign patents in all technical areas, as well as trademark and copyright registrations;
  • Enforce intellectual property rights including patent, trademark and copyright litigation, licensing, negotiation and arbitration;
  • Report and opine the possibility of registering trademarks, logos, and designs, including trade dress protection;
  • Advice on confidentiality agreements, government research funding, university-industry relations, license agreements, corporate sponsored research contracts, development agreements, joint ventures, due diligence strategies, technology transfer agreements, software protection, and employment agreements; and
  • Provide technical assistance to general business counsel, in-house counsel, technology transfer managers, inventors, and business investors on all aspects of intellectual property, its scope and strength, title, contract and licensing matters and employment contracts, disclosures and invention submission procedures.

Copyright

CopyrightA copyright is considered to be property, and can be sold and licensed like a patent. It is a form of intellectual property that allows the author or artist of an original work exclusive right for a specific time period in relation to that work, including its publication, distribution and adaptation. After that time the work can enter the public domain.

US federal law protection applies to literary, musical and dramatic works, pictorial, sculptural and audiovisual works, and other kinds of works of authorship, including computer program expression. As the owner of a copyright, you have the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute copies of the copyrighted work, and to prepare derivative works (adaptations, translations, etc.) based on the copyrighted work.

Copyright Law

CopyrightCopyright law protects artists and authors, and in most situations, copying is illegal, particularly when the motivation is commercial gain. The "Fair Use" rule, however, is not a copyright violation. Fair Use includes the following:
  • Criticism and comment, e.g., quoting or excerpting a work in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment.
  • News reporting, e.g., summarizing an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report.
  • Research and scholarship, e.g., quoting a short passage in a scholarly, scientific, or technical work for illustration or clarification of the author's observations.
  • Nonprofit educational uses, e.g.,, photocopying of limited portions of written works by teachers for classroom use.
  • Parody, meaning a work that ridicules another, usually well-known, work by imitating it in a comic way.
Copyright, the internet, and why it matters to you - infographic

Trademark

A trademark is a word, a group of words or a logo that is used in conjunction with the sale of goods to distinguish them from those made or sold by someone else. The trademark owner acquires the right to exclude others from using a similar mark on other products to ensure that there is no confusion by the consumer.

Trademark Law

Trademark protection is recognized under the laws of individual states and is enforceable in state courts. Marks may be registered with state administrative agencies, usually the Secretary of State. The federal Trademark Act provides for registration of marks used or intended for use in interstate commerce.

Internet Law

Internet LawInternet law, also known as cyberlaw, deals with the same legal issues as IP law, but it is applied to the different features of the Internet. Whenever you purchase, write or download anything on the internet, you are subject to exactly the same IP laws as in the non-virtual world.

There are several federal statutes such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in place regarding Internet Law, which covers misappropriation of trade secrets in cyberspace, licenses and antitrust constraints, third-party liability for online content, tort liability of online service providers, privacy issues, constitutional free speech issues, and more.

IP lawyers can protect and enforce your intellectual property rights, from helping with your trademark application process to applying for copyright protection to obtaining a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order if your intellectual property has been compromised or violated.


INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS

  • Has DMV Violated the Drivers’ Privacy Protection Act and Your Security?
  • Court Should Direct FEC to Investigate Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS
  • Lawsuit Filed against eBay, PayPal for Infringement and RICO Violations

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY EMERGING ISSUES




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