If you have a business, you probably have a logo. You might have a slogan or other signs of your business as well. But what happens when someone tries to use the name of your business for something else? What if you’ve created a great product and suddenly a competitor is selling a copy of your hard work? You’ve just entered into the complex world of intellectual property. Whether you can protect your name, brand, logo, or invention may depend on how well you’ve prepared for just such an occasion.
The World Intellectual Property Organization is the world’s largest intellectual property organization. It is an agency of the United Nations with 191 member states with the mission of creating “a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.” The WIPO defines intellectual property as “creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.”
There are a variety of ways to protect intellectual property and a number of different reasons you might want to do it. In general, the purpose of protecting your intellectual property usually has to do with commerce. If you’ve created something, you want exclusive rights to profit from its use, sale, display, performance, or reproduction. In the case of trademarks, you may also want to avoid other businesses from imitating your brand.
Depending on the type of intellectual property you have created, you may need different types of protection. The three main types of protection in the U.S. are trademark, copyright, and patent.
A trademark is a recognizable sign, design (such as a logo), or expression (such as a slogan) that identifies a product or service. The trademark should identify the source of the product or service and differentiate it from goods or services from another source. Trademark law is complex and requires numerous forms. An individual, business, corporation, or other legal entity can register a trademark. However, every few years (5, 6 or 10 generally) the forms will need to be resubmitted or updated.
Due to the complexity of trademark law, it is best to enlist the services of a knowledgeable intellectual property lawyer to help with the registration. The trademark application process is a legal proceeding. Therefore, a non-lawyer is not legally allowed to advise, assist, fill out forms, or sign on your behalf. Hiring a non-lawyer to do any of those things could put your trademark registration process in jeopardy or even invalidate it.
When it comes to finding an intellectual property lawyer, you will find that there are literally hundreds of IP lawyers who advertise their service on and offline. So how do you know who to trust? Well, if you’ve found your way to TrustDALE.com, you probably know by now that Dale has your back. He has done the research for you and certified businesses that have undergone his 7 point investigative review process and passed with flying colors.
So who does Dale trust? When it comes to intellectual property law, Dale trusts Lakhany Law, PC. Lakhany Law maintains two offices, one in Atlanta and one in Los Angeles. Because intellectual property law is federal and not state-based, Lakhany Law can work with business owners in any state. With their bi-coastal offices, they’re available when you are, whatever time zone you’re in!
Copyright is probably the simplest type of intellectual property protection. It covers original works of authorship. These works could be written, musical, artistic, or dramatic works. For example, poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture are all protected by copyright. The ideas contained in these works are not protected by copyright, but the way in which they are expressed is.
Unlike trademarks and patents, there is no need to register a copyright to be protected. The moment a work is fixed in some tangible form, either physical or electronic, it is considered copyrighted by its creator. The copyright gives the holder of the copyright the right to reproduce, sell, and perform the copyrighted work. However, if you don’t register your trademark, you are limited in how you can respond to infringement.
If someone infringes upon your unregistered copyright, you can sue them for an injunction to stop them from using the copyrighted work. You could also potentially receive actual damages and profits. In other words, the actual amount of money that you could have made if the person had not infringed on your copyright and the profits made by infringing can be awarded to the owner of an unregistered copyright. However, to receive statutory damages and attorney’s fees, you will need to register your copyright.
You might want an intellectual property lawyer to help with registration. However, you need an intellectual property if you find yourself defending your copyright. The first thing an intellectual property lawyer might do is to send a cease and desist letter to the infringing party. If that doesn’t work, or if you want to recover damages, you will need to go to court.
Defending a copyright in court is not simple. For that reason, it is best to call on a law firm like Lakhany Law, PC. Lakhany Law can help you register and defend your copyright.
Patents are generally issued to protect inventors. Inventions are considered to be any new machine, process, material, or other useful invention. A significant improvement to an existing invention is also patentable. To be eligible for a patent, an invention has to be new and non-obvious. Once the patent is issued, the patent holder has the right to prevent anyone else from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the United States or importing it into the United States. The term of a patent is usually 20 years. However, in some instances that term can be extended.
The details of patent law are complex, as is the process for filing a patent. For one thing, the invention has to be properly documented in accordance with patent law. The inventor applying for the patent must also take all the necessary steps to demonstrate that the invention meets the requirements to be eligible for patent protection, such as usefulness, newness, and non-obviousness.
When applying for a patent, it is almost always necessary to enlist a good intellectual property lawyer. The laws and requirements are simply too complex for most inventors to navigate the process alone. Lakhany Law, PC is experienced in patent law and has helped many inventors successfully apply for patents. If you are considering patenting your invention, you should definitely talk to the experts at Lakhany Law.
Protecting your Trademark, Copyright, or Patent
Applying for the appropriate protection for your work is an important first step in protecting your rights. However, once you have registered your work, it is up to you to protect your rights. If someone is infringing on your rights, your main remedy is legal. You can sue for various outcomes, including injunctions to stop the infringement and various types of damages.
If someone has infringed on your rights, Lakhany Law can help you protect those rights in court. They are experts at intellectual property protection, and they can help you protect what is rightfully yours.
If you need any kind of legal help, TrustDALE.com is the place to turn for a lawyer you can trust. You can find legal services and other professional services certified by TrustDALE here.