Intellectual Property Lawyer

Intellectual property is an important asset for individuals and business owners, but the rules and requirements around intellectual property can be complicated. Read on to understand more about intellectual property and how an intellectual property lawyer can help.

What is Considered Intellectual Property?

The phrase intellectual property refers to any creation of the mind that enables the creator to earn recognition or financial benefit. The owner of intellectual property is generally granted the exclusive right over the creation for a certain period of time.

There are four main categories of intellectual property:

  • Copyright: Original works of authorship in a fix form, such as photographs, literary works, music, and computer software
  • Patent: Non-obvious and useful inventions including processes and machines
  • Trademark: Phrases, symbols, or words that identify a product or service such as brand names and logos
  • Trade Secret: Private information that gives a business a competitive advantage like recipes, processes, and marketing strategies

How Can I Protect My Intellectual Property?

It is important to protect your intellectual property to ensure you retain the exclusive right to the IP and to ensure you can enforce your rights against infringers. The steps required to protect your IP will depend on which type of intellectual property you are seeking to protect. Additionally, intellectual property rights are territorial. This means that you need to seek to protect your rights separately in different countries.

Use the following strategies to protect your IP in the United States:

  • Patent: File a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to secure protection for 20 years from the date of the filing.
  • Trademark: Using the trademark in common establishes common law rights. Filing a federal trademark registration with the USPTO strengthens your rights and makes your claim of rights obvious to third parties.
  • Copyright: Registration is not required to secure rights. Simply creating copyrighted material results in protection. It is advisable to file an important copyrighted work with the U.S. Copyright Office to create a stronger case for validity and the possibility of recovering statutory damages if the copyright is infringed. Even if you don’t file, you should mark your material with a copyright notice.
  • Trade Secret: The best way to protect a trade secret is to keep it a secret and demonstrate that reasonable protective steps are in place to protect the secret. Consider creating a company trade secret policy.

How Can An Intellectual Property Lawyer Help?

An intellectual property lawyer will be an important partner in preparing a strategy for protecting and defending your intellectual property rights.

Patents

Before you can claim rights in your invention, you need to make sure that no one else has rights in it. A patent lawyer will help you perform a prior art search to ensure that your invention is new and non-obvious. Assuming no prior art is uncovered, you will need to file a patent application. These applications are very complicated document that is best prepared by an attorney. Once filed, the USPTO may have questions or objections to your application, and your lawyer can work with you to prepare a response.

Trade Secrets

A lawyer will help you put a plan in place to keep your trade secret under wraps. This includes preparing non-disclosure agreements and non-compete clauses in employee contracts. A lawyer can review your procedures to make sure you have reasonable protections in place to protect your trade secret and prepare a trade secret policy for your company.

Copyright

Work with your lawyer to determine whether your work is protected by copyright, to include an appropriate notice on copyrighted works, and to file a copyright application if deemed appropriate.

Trademark

Similar to a patent, it is best to perform a trademark clearance search to confirm that no other party is using a name or logo similar to yours for related goods or services. If they are, your use could be infringing their rights. If there are no similar uses, work with your lawyer to file a federal trademark application with the USPTO and to respond to any objections from the Trademark Office.

Litigation

Disputes often arise around intellectual property. First, a party could claim you are infringing their intellectual property rights. Your lawyer will assess the other party’s claim and advise on the strength of your case. Once you have established rights in your IP, you can leverage it to stop third parties from infringing your rights. This can be done through administrative proceedings or by filing a lawsuit.

Finding The Right Intellectual Property Lawyer For You

Intellectual property is a specialized area of the law, so it is important to work with a lawyer who has a demonstrated history of successfully helping clients develop and protect their intellectual property portfolio.

Contact us today to discuss your business’s needs and the best way to protect your intellectual property.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does an Intellectual Property Lawyer Do?

Intellectual property lawyers help their clients establish clear rights in their intellectual property to ensure that other parties can’t use their content, name, logo, or invention without permission. IP lawyers perform clearance searches, file applications with the appropriate government offices, respond to requests from the USPTO and U.S. Copyright Office, and pursue parties that are infringing on their clients’ intellectual property.

What Are The 4 Types of Intellectual Property?

The four types of intellectual property are:

  • Patent: New and non-obvious inventions
  • Copyright: Original work of authorship in a fixed form
  • Trademark: A name or symbol used to identify a product or service
  • Trade Secret: Private information that gives a business advantage

What Could Happen If I Don’t Protect My IP?

If you don’t protect your IP, you could find your business at risk. It is important to secure rights in your intellectual property and enforce those rights against third parties.

If you don’t protect your invention, another party might use the same or similar technology to create a competing business. If you fail to secure rights in your business name, product name, or logo, a third party could confuse consumers by launching a product under a similar name. Copyrighted content can be essential to your business and very detrimental if duplicated. A trade secret is often the “secret sauce” that gives a business an edge, so it is important to keep it secret.

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