Long Beach Intellectual Property Lawyers
Businesses have a right to protect their interests and many times, depending on the industry in which they work, they may have to take legal action against individuals or other companies to do so. Creators also have a right to profit from their inventions or works and keep others from profiting illegally from their hard work. If you run a business or are a creator and need advice on seeking compensation against someone stealing research, designs or creative works that you own, a Long Beach intellectual property lawyer can help you.
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property covers a wide range of creations that are used in commerce. These creations include designs, inventions, literary and artistic works, names, images, and symbols. While some creations are done by individual writers, artists or inventors, others are done in behest of a company. An automobile design or a medical device invention will belong to a company because they employ the creative mind responsible for these pieces of property.
By law, intellectual property is just that, property. It can be owned, bought, sold, traded or willed to someone by whomever owns the right to it. However, ownership may come into question or people may try to illegally copy, distribute or otherwise use the property without permission to do so. In these cases, the owner of the property may need to seek out advice about their legal options, including going to court, to decide who owns the property and/or recover damages in the form of monetary compensation they are owed.
Laws Protecting Intellectual Property
There are several laws regarding intellectual property that protect the rights of those who own it. Most of the laws protecting intellectual property were passed by the federal government and include:
Copyright Laws – copyrights protect the creators of artistic and literary works like paintings, films, music, books, sculptures, databases, computer programs, technical drawings, maps and digital recordings. A copyright gives the owner the exclusive rights to copy, distribute, share, perform, play or display their works. Copyrights are registered with the United States Copyright Office.
Trademark Laws – using a trademark helps to distinguish a party’s products or services from other parties’ products or services. A trademark may be owned by a business or individual and includes logos, symbols, words, phrases, images, website domain names, sounds, colors or any combination of these. A business may use a trademark that is registered or unregistered. Trademarks are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Patents – a patent allows an inventor to have the exclusive rights to their invention. The patent holder can decide if or how their invention is to be used and they, in turn, provide technical information about the invention via a public patent document. Patents are registered through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Registered Designs – rather than protect the article itself, registering a design protects the appearance of a manufactured article. The design may include an article’s three-dimensional features like the shape or surface or it could include two-dimensional features like color, pattern or lines. A design can have a copyright, which affords it longer protection than a registered design status.
Geographical Indications – is a sign that indicates where a product originates from and the product must have qualities, characteristics or a reputation based on its location of origin. An example of a geographical indication would be California wines or Florida oranges. A GI serves the same function as a trademark in that they help to indicate a products source-identifier, quality and business interest. GI’s are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Businesses usually protect their rights to a design, invention or creative work by registering it with the appropriate office and using a nondisclosure agreement that prohibits employees from giving out information about the product or work to anyone else. If your work or product has been used illegally, contact us today for a free consultation.