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Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property Lawyer Referrals

To seek the advice of an experienced intellectual property lawyer, call Attorney Search Network today for a free referral to an attorney in your area.

TRADEMARKS

Trademarks are a type of intellectual property that are distinctive or unique symbols, words, or pictures created or legally registered to represent a product or business. Unique packaging, building designs, product styles, and color combinations are other examples of trademarks. Trademark status can also be granted to marks that are not at first unique or distinctive but that over time develop another meaning that represents a company or product. A trademark’s owner solely has the right to use the mark on products that the trademark identifies. Service-marks are very similar to trademarks legally but are used to identify services instead of products.

The Lanham Act was enacted by Congress so that any trademark registered under the legislation is protected nationwide. The owner of the trademark must register the mark with the Patent and Trademark Office in order to ensure protection of the mark. State common law governs the protection of trademarks on the grounds of unfair competition law.

PATENTS

Patents allow an inventor to protect his/her discovery or invention for a limited time from the use or production of others. For an invention or discovery to be patented, it must be novel, useful, and not obvious in nature. Four main examples of inventions that are issued utility patents are machines, human-made products, processing methods, and compositions of matter. Human-made products are sometimes difficult to define because of ever-changing technologies.

Historically, patents were issued for a temporary time period of seventeen years following the date of issuance. Those patents were non-renewable. An amendment in 1995, however, changed the time period to twenty years from the date of application.

The Patent and Trademark Office is the federal agency that administers patent laws and oversees patent applications. An examiner reviews each application to decide whether or not the invention or discovery is eligible to be issued a patent. A model used to be required in a patent application, but today a detailed specification is sufficient. Appeals are allowed for rejected patent applications.

COPYRIGHTS

A copyright is another kind of intellectual property and is defined as the exclusive right granted to an originator or owner to reproduce, print, publish, perform, distribute, display, film, record or license his or her work. Copyrights also encompass the exclusive right given to the originator to produce or license derivatives of his/her content. Congress enacted the U.S. Copyright Act to protect authors’ writings. Ever-advancing technologies have altered what constitutes “writings,” however. The Copyright Act also grants authority to protect architectural designs, graphic arts, software, motion pictures, and sound recordings. Works that are entitled to be protected by copyright law must be original and in a fixed medium of expression. Works are covered by copyright even if they are not registered or do not have a copyright notice.

If you need help understanding any of the above information regarding trademarks, patents, and copyrights, call Attorney Search Network today. The attorney referral service can provide you with a free consultation to intellectual property attorneys with experience in trademark, patent, and copyright law.

Contact Attorney Search Network for a Intellectual Property Law Lawyer Referral in your local area with Copyright, Trademark and Patent expereince.