Intellectual property (often defined as “creations of the mind”) refers to certain types of intangible property, such as songs, stories, logos, processes and inventions. Since intellectual property is inherently intangible, it can often be easily and inexpensively duplicated (i.e. ripped off or pirated), thereby depriving the original creator of the opportunity to financially benefit from his or her creation. For a variety of policy and economic reasons, intellectual property rights were developed to encourage the creation of intellectual property. Generally, intellectual property rights grant exclusive control over certain forms of intellectual property for a limited period of time. In other words, IP rights essentially give the owner a monopoly on the right to use the property for a limited amount of time.
Intellectual property law (“IP law”) generally refers to the laws governing three types of IP rights—copyrights, trademarks, and patents—but also includes other things, like trade secrets. The basic three types of IP rights can be summarized as follows:
- Copyrights, provide legal protection for all forms of human expression (e.g. music, poems, literature, art, etc.).
- Trademarks, provide legal protection for words or logos (e.g. Coke, Pepsi, McDonalds, etc.).
- Patents, provide legal protection for certain ideas or inventions (e.g. the personal computer, a hair dryer, etc.)
Additionally, a subset of IP law called “cyber law” refers to a growing area of law governing legal issues related to the use of the Internet, such as cybersquatting, online or digital piracy, and trademark and copyright infringement.
At E. Johnson Law, we have extensive experience with copyrights and trademarks—both in filing registration applications and in defending and/or initiating infringement lawsuits. Some of the services we perform include the following:
- Filing Applications. Filing trademark and copyright applications (both domestically and internationally).
- Infringement Lawsuits. Both initiating and/or defending against trademark and/or copyright infringement lawsuits.
Nearly all of our small business clients deal with IP issues in some shape or form—whether you are trying to develop and/or protect your right to use a mark identifying your goods or services, or you believe your proprietary photos or online content has been illegally used (“pirated”) by someone else without your permission. Whatever questions you have regarding intellectual property, we can help you. Give us a call!