Most people are familiar with the ownership of property in the form of personal property and real estate property. However, property rights and protections also come in the form of intellectual property – frequently referred to as IP Law – which consists of three major branches: 1) Patents; 2) Copyrights; and 3) Trademarks. In addition, also worth mentioning, is their state law relative – Trade Secrets. But why are all these concepts important?
Well, in recent years, especially due to the prevalence of new technology and the growth of the internet, intellectual property law became more important to both individuals and businesses. This is because of what IP law protects by nature. To understand the important role that IP law plays, one must understand what Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, and Trade Secrets protect. So, here are the basic concepts in a nutshell:
-Patents protect inventions. There are different types, such as: design patents, utility patents, plant patent, and provisional patents.
-Copyrights protect artistic creations. These include: music, books, photos, videos, sculptures, and other types of artistic creations fixed in a tangible medium of expression. In other words, it cannot be an idea, you have to actually create it.
-Trademarks protect names, logos, and slogans that identify a source. The main idea behind trademark law is: we do not want consumers to be confused when buying goods or services in the market. Famous examples of trademarks are Disney, Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, Sony, etc.
-Trade Secrets protect procedures, formulas, or other information specific to a business that would be valuable to a competitor, and is not obvious to the public. Thus, Trade Secrets are things you protect and keep confidential, internally and externally, for the benefit of the business.
Essentially, IP law is part of our lives on a daily basis – from the movies you watch, the music you listen to, or the program you use. These are all intellectual property assets belonging to someone. With this in mind, make sure to protect your intellectual property – as it may be your most valuable asset.
The above is just a general introduction to the concepts, which are much more complex and extend to other areas not discussed in this Blog. Whether you own a Copyright and want to register it? You think you have a Trademark and you want to register it? Or, you want to use someone else’s work, but you are not sure if you can? These are all relevant issues that arise on a daily basis. So, if you are building a brand, are subject to infringement, or are just trying to protect your brand from infringements, contact an Intellectual Property Attorney.
If you want to learn more about how these rights and protections were created in the United States, visit our blog discussing the intellectual property clause.
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