Intellectual Property Law 101

Anything that is produced by the human mind is considered “intellectual property.” It may be something that starts out as a simple idea, but it ends up having practical effects on the world around you.

Businesses often create intellectual property more than they realize. Even something simple, such as how you package your product, is considered intellectual property and may require legal protection. Things like blueprints, customer lists, and software are also intellectual property.

As a business, it is a good idea to have a least a basic understanding of intellectual property rights and obligations. That way, you will be aware of when you may need to take extra precautions to protect your company’s valuable assets.

Trademarks

A trademark is a protection that allows customers to distinguish one business from another. It affects products, services, designs, and slogans. If you have a product or company name, saying, or motto, you may want to trademark it so that other businesses cannot use the same mark or information.

You register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Your trademark can have significant value, so it is considered an asset of the business.

Copyrights

A copyright is a protection that is available to “original works of authorship.” It applies to music, art, drama, and literary works. You can copyright something regardless of whether it is published or unpublished. You may want to copyright images, songs, designs, photos, books, or movies. You can even copyright your website content so that others cannot use it.

Patents

You can acquire a patent for an original invention. Patents are issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as well. A patent allows the inventor to have exclusive rights to the product so that others cannot use or produce the invention.

There are two types of patents available. A design patent protects the way a product looks. A utility patent protects the way that the product functions. In many cases, an inventor will apply for both types of patents to ensure maximum protection for their invention.

Intellectual Property Violations

When you have properly protected your intellectual property rights, you may have a legal claim against anyone who violates your patent, copyright, or trademark. You can demand that they stop any infringement of your rights, and you may be entitled to monetary compensation to account for any losses you may have suffered as well.

Whether you need to apply for intellectual property protection or you need to deal with potential infringement of your rights, Integrated General Counsel can help. Call today to get more information.

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Written by Integrated General Counsel

Our focus includes handling a variety of corporate matters and also includes litigation in state and federal courts. Our current practice includes providing transactional services and representing a variety of small and medium-sized companies as their outsourced general counsel.