Intellectual property management is not simple. While it is important, few are familiar with how intellectual property law works. A wide range of things are protectable by either patents, trademarks, or copyrights, and they are relevant to almost every business. As such, it is crucial to understand them. If you have plans to apply for a patent at the US Patent and Trademark Office, it is important to find an attorney with expertise in patent law.
If you have obtained permission to use the intellectual property rights of someone else in the past, or you are granting rights for your own intellectual property, you may already have an idea of what the other party is allowed to do and is prohibited from doing. However, for those who are reading about intellectual property laws for the first time, it might be helpful to begin by clarifying IP basics. Beyond that, the services of intellectual property lawyers become crucial.
Intellectual property is, in the broadest sense, intangible property. It refers to ownership rights to the things made or created using your creativity or intellect. These include the use and commercialization of the ‘products’ of your mind. Intellectual property can include machinery, art, and musical compositions. But take not, not all intellectual property protections are the same.
Copyrights are used for creative works that are put into or recorded in a tangible medium. Common examples include musical recordings, writings, plays, and films. When dealing with these things, make sure your actions are according to the copyright act. Do not do anything unlawful and exercise diligence when dealing with copyrighted material.
Patents generally protect technical or mechanical inventions or innovations. Keep in mind that when granted a patent license, the patented invention may only be used for the specific purposes and term that was agreed upon. As a basic rule, do not make use of patented property beyond the manner you are entitled to.
Trademarks protect words, logos, or slogans that are used to identify the source of a product or service and increase marketability. Trade dress and service marks are also under statutory trademark law. Understanding the protections and limitations that come with trademark registration will help minimize legal issues.
The term trade secret is often used for production methods, instructions, or recipes. Trade secrets are bits of knowledge that are not readily accessible but are crucial in giving an individual or a company an edge over a competitor.
When you agree to grant rights to use any of your intellectual property to a contracting party, terms and conditions must be clear and strictly followed.
It is important to always comply with pertinent copyright, trademark, and patent law. The geographical limits, exclusivity, expiration, and renewal terms must be specified in any agreement that parties concerned are entering.
Infringement occurs when your intellectual property is used by another inappropriately or without your permission. Whether it is a trademark, patent, or copyright, infringement is unlawful and must be avoided at all costs.
When dealing with the US Patent and Trademark Office, it helps to have a trusted Washington, D.C. IP attorney helping you. These things must be taken seriously. Knowing and understanding what to include or exclude in a patent application or drafting a trademark registration application is easier with the right intellectual property law firm.
For any questions on copyright, trademark, or patent law, give us a call. Contact our Washington, D.C. IP attorneys at War IP Law to get the legal services of a reliable intellectual property lawyer.