About Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual property law is the protection of one’s creative property, such as writing, music, paintings, drawing, photography or films. Some of the aspects that go into intellectual property law include:
Federal copyright law prevents others from benefiting from your creative property without your permission. The property that is protected by a copyright is an expressive art — such as a script, song, poem, artwork or photography. The copyright gives the owner exclusive right to publish the work, publicly display or perform the work, and to financially benefit from this work while prohibiting others from doing so. The length of time that copyright protection is extended to your creative work depends on the time in which it was created or first published.
Federal and state trademark laws protect logos, slogans, and brand names of your company from being used or duplicated by others. Trademark protection depends on factors such as consumer awareness of the logo, slogan, or brand name, and the geographic location in which the trademark is used.
Right of Publicity
These laws, governed by the state you’re in, protect your name and image from being used for commercial purposes without your permission.
State and federal trade secrets laws prevent the unauthorized use of sensitive business information and depend on whether or not the business maintains a competitive edge due to the information, as well as whether or not the information is truly secret and something that the competitor does not already have access to.
Patent laws protect the functional parts and ornamental features of your creation, preventing others from creating goods with features that look and perform in the same exact way as your creation does. There are three types of U.S. patents: 1) Utility patents for inventions such as chemicals, machines, and technology; 2) Design patents for protecting the unique way that your invention appears; and 3) Plant patents that protect plant varieties that you’ve created asexually, including hybrid plants.
It is important to note that not every creative work requires or qualifies for these protections and some creations require the use of more than one protection.
What Does a Intellectual Property Lawyer Do?
Intellectual property attorneys represent their clients in state and federal courts, as well as the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the International Trade Commission. Some of the duties that intellectual property lawyers undertake for their clients include:
- Filing an application for a trademark or a patent
- Representing the client’s case before a patent examiner or board
- Defend your patent or trademark
- Write a licensing agreement
- Representing the client in court when there is a violation to copyright, trademark, trade secret, or patent law
- Develop a sound strategy for protecting the client’s intellectual property
- Representing their client in a case involving unfair competition practices, such as trademark violations, false advertising, unauthorized substitution such as selling a fake designer handbag as a real one, misappropriation of trade secrets, false representation of products or services, or trade defamation such as writing untrue reviews intended to harm a business.