There are various types of intellectual property including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and trade dress. Each of the types of intellectual property are considered property of the owner similar to owning a car. When someone violates the right that is given to the owner of the intellectual property then the owner can file a law suit against the violator. In the intellectual property context violations are called infringement. When an intellectual property right is granted or given to the owner of the intellectual property the right comprises the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, importing, or practicing the invention, writing, logo, or other intellectual property.
Patents - A patent is a form of intellectual property. A patent gives its owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, and importing an invention for a limited period of time, usually 20 years. The patent rights are granted in exchange for an enabling public disclosure of the invention.
Trademarks - A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. The Lanham Act 15 U.S.C. § 1051. The term of a federal trademark is 10 years, with 10-year renewal terms. However, the USPTO requires that between the fifth and sixth year after the date of registration, the registrant must file an affidavit stating that the mark is still in use. If no affidavit is filed, the registration is cancelled.
Copyrights - Copyright is a legal right, existing in many countries, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to determine whether, and under what conditions, this original work may be used by others. the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first.
Trade Secret - A trade secret is a formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, commercial method, or compilation of information not generally known or reasonably ascertainable by others by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers. Trade secrets do not have an expiration date. The business holding the trade secret must make a reasonable effort to maintain the confidentiality and secrecy of the information.
Trade Dress - Trade dress is a legal term of art that generally refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the design of a building) that signify the source of the product to consumers. The Lanham Act 15 U.S.C. § 1051. Registration with the U.S. Government is good for 10 years and may be renewed for successive 10 year periods again as long as the Trade Dress is still being used.
For Trademarks, Copyrights, Trade Secrets, and Trade Dress, you do not have to file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to secure your intellectual property right as you are protected by the common law. The common law is law that courts have developed over time. Historically, these intellectual property rights were created by the courts. This common law made by the courts has been codified in The Lanham Act 15 U.S.C.§ 1051.
Registering your Trademark, Copyright, or Trade Dress with the United States Patent and Trademark office does have some benefit. In order to get the most from your Trademark, Copyright, or Trade Dress property right, contact us and we will register your intellectual property with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
If your intellectual property is being infringed or you have been accused of infringing any intellectual property then we can represent you in helping you either assert your rights against any infringing company or defend you against any person asserting infringement against you.