Welcome back to the Apfel & Associates law blog! 2018 is just about to wrap up, the holidays are here, but we’re still here burning the midnight oil working diligently on cases of all kinds. So far on the blog, we have spent most of our time discussing immigration law and the various processes involved therein. But that is far from all we do here at Apfel & Associates. Another of our practice areas that we are proud of is Intellectual Property Law, whether it be a trademark, servicemarks, copyrights, or trade secret law and beyond. We know it.
But maybe you don’t. Intellectual property law can be a bit of a headache for some, while others don’t even have a clue what it entails. This blog is for you!
Intellectual Property Law
In the big picture, intellectual property law deals with legal rights to creative works, like inventions. It determines and controls who gets use of those creations, projects, artistic works, designs, etc. The idea behind intellectual property law is to ensure that those who invent or otherwise create things get the profit for their work.
We mentioned copyrights and trademarks before, these are specific kinds of intellectual property law, let’s get into them a bit more shall we?
Kinds of Intellectual Property Law
Copyrights protect the owner and creator’s rights to their original creative works. Print, music, performance, movies, even choreography, all are covered by copyright. So long as you hold the copyright, others cannot profit from your work without you. While copyright doesn’t have to be formally registered to own it, it can be registered which will save you a lot of headache in the future. If you have your copyright formally registered, for instance, you can claim statutory damages and attorney fees whenever someone violates that copyright.
Trademarks are any design, lettering, symbols, or words that represent an entire product or company – it’s a clear identifier of the brand. Just like copyright, trademarks are not required to be registered legally to be used. However, having it registered means you have a legal presumption of ownership, that is to say in the eyes of the law it appears you own it, period.
Once you have that trademark you possess the exclusive rights to create and sell products using the trademark. Having a trademark, and having one registered is a crucial way to protect your brand.
Another big form of intellectual property law is the patent. A patent is a legal right, ownership to an original invention. Unlike a trademark, a patent has a set lifespan on it of 20 years. During this term, no one else can make the product or invention, sell it or distribute it without your permission.
To acquire a patent you need to have specific, careful documentation of the invention, show that the idea itself is new, and be able to describe the patent in such detail that the government officials working on the patent and the public themselves can clearly see your invention and the rights you have of it.
This has been an incredibly simple overview of intellectual property law. As with any legal field, there is plenty more where that came from, but for now, we’ll draw this blog to a close. If you need intellectual property help or legal counsel, contact us at Apfel & Associates and we can begin protecting your ideas, inventions, brand or more immediately. That will do it for us this year, we will see you back here in 2019! Happy holidays!