Category: Intellectual property

commercial intellectual property

Is Someone Else Benefiting from Your Commercial Intellectual Property to Sell Merchandise?

Although you may not even realize it at the time, when you create a business, you also begin creating an ongoing reputation within your community and industry, which also leads to a brand and commercial intellectual property—no matter how formal or informal it may be–and you certainly do not want anyone else benefiting from the hard work you put in. Along with your brand usually comes slogans, logos, information about your services, and perhaps even innovative products that make you known worldwide and must be patented.

Protecting your intellectual property is about more than just attaining status through registration and having a piece of paper to go with your work. Going through the application process and receiving the proper registration and licensing (which can sometimes be complex) can be critical to your business, and in many ways protecting intellectual property is just like protecting the inventory at your company or warehouse.

Just as you lock the door on your property at night onsite or at your warehouse, intellectual property protection allows you to secure rights to avoid theft by others. You can then move on and give your attention to exploring new innovations and expanding research and development within your company. There may be no further complications unless someone tries to threaten your IP license.

If you do realize there may be a threat to your intellectual property—known as infringement in most cases—consult with the Bolender Law Firm as soon as possible to protect your valuable work, which may currently be part of or eventually lead to substantial income for your company. Many intellectual property ‘thieves’ just assume no one will come after them for stealing a copyright, trademark, or even perhaps a complex patent to be reproduced and sold for a tidy profit. Others may simply not believe in or may not agree with the idea of intellectual property altogether, justifying theft in that manner. Be aware also, that many infringers are international.

Each type of intellectual property has its own protections, and if you are trying to deal with an infringement issue, this is certainly not an area of law to try and go it alone. The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!


When Another Party Blatantly Steals Your Copyright

A copyright can be extremely important to your business if you are producing valuable intellectual property—and while that may be a matter of perspective to some regarding ‘artistic works’ (the definition of what can be copyrighted), such ‘property’ often grows in value exponentially over time. In most cases, though regarding a business venture, artistic expressions that must be registered for serious legal protection may have been long-term projects resulting in intellectual property that your company values deeply, and could include work like software, architectural works, and more. These items can be thought of almost like business inventory and must be guarded just like everything else.

Are you trying to decide whether you want a copyright? If so, ask yourself how you would respond if you found out that someone else had taken your work or replicated it for their own gain. Having a formal copyright establishes with the rest of the world that you own a work; however, many copyright owners are not aware that as soon as they bring the work into existence, they do own it; the question is then how to keep it safe. Registration means taking your current level of ownership one step further by making it formal with the U.S. Copyright Office. If the copyright lapses or expires, it then enters the public domain. Most copyrights are good as outlined by the U.S. Copyright Office:

“As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, 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. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors.”

But what about when another party just takes off with your work blatantly? That is theft, and it must be dealt with by a skilled legal professional. If you have worries regarding infringement, contact the Bolender Law Firm as soon as possible. Infringement cases can be complex, as not only must you provide evidence of the intellectual property infringement but also defend your copyright against fair use issues and more. You may also want to consider whether the offending party has the resources to pay damages should you engage in a lawsuit over your copyright.

Do you need legal assistance with an intellectual property matter? If so, contact the Bolender Law Firm. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!


intellectual property

What Should I Do If My Intellectual Property Has Been Stolen?

Discovering that you have been stolen from is always a jarring experience, no matter the value of an item. And while there are steps you can take legally upon realizing you have been a victim of theft, the situation may become more complex when dealing with an intangible item or a mere concept—but a valuable one— related to intellectual property.

As a business owner, you may eventually find that intellectual property is one of your company’s greatest strengths; after all, what could be more important than your logo for branding? Or your slogan so that the public understands what you do? Copyrights and trademarks often cover the basics at the beginning of your business, but patents could represent the most substantial part of your intellectual property portfolio later.

While you may have a simple patent, it is also possible that you have one or more patents for inventions that are extremely complex and could have been the result of decades of work whether you were involved or your team handled the bulk of the design. You may also have had the assistance of independent contractors who have worked with you continuously throughout the years, are on an ‘as-needed’ basis.

If you fear that your intellectual property has been stolen, take action as quickly as possible with the help of a skilled attorney from an office like the Bolender Law Firm. While so many different types of theft, including identity theft and cyber theft are prevalent today, intellectual property theft can be extremely damaging as another party could begin to import, export, manufacture, and sell something you worked very hard to create.

If there has been infringement, your intellectual property attorney will begin by issuing a request for the infringement to cease, taking more aggressive action later if that does not prove effective. This also applies to copyrights, trademarks and service marks, as well as inventions you may have put many hours and expense into creating. While intellectual property technically is yours as soon as it comes into being (at your hands, or those of your employees), registering it gives you much more recourse later if there is a legal dispute.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!


Patents May Protect Improvements to An Existing Invention

Intellectual property can be one of your company’s greatest assets. This is often not a priority at first, and many business owners may not realize the importance of copyrights, trademarks, and patents until they are in the midst of creating something, or realize they are onto something big—and perhaps even internationally.

While much intellectual property is centered around branding mechanisms such as logos, slogans, and products delineating what you may provide for the public, patents are usually even more important as they represent inventions. And while copyrights are technically registered as artistic expressions, the patent often represents something along the same lines that may be exponentially more creative or innovative, and a product that endures through many decades to come. Because of that, it is critical to protect such works for the long term.

But what if you want to make an improvement on an existing patent, whether it is your own or someone else’s? Improvement patents are extremely common today and are often known as ‘addition patents’ or ‘substitution patents.’ These often include much smaller but vital inventions that could be a tipping point for the success of a product overall. Many improvements occur today as new technology is becoming so readily available and may offer significant benefits over conventional methods such as greater affordability, better performance, and less labor needed when operating a machine or a system.

If you are interested in registering to improve a patent, begin by searching for it through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. File your temporary patent while you complete the formal application process and expect to have to make revisions. It is highly recommended that you work with an intellectual property attorney as applying for a patent of any kind can be a lengthy, complex process; however, it is well worth it to make sure any type of invention is protected from infringement by others.

A patent gives you exclusive rights to an invention for up to 20 years, usually, meaning that no one else can make, sell, or use it. If the registration expires, it then becomes open to the public domain.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

Intellectual Property: Who Needs to Apply for Service Marks?

Intellectual property spans many different items you may create for your business to promote your brand, or products you may invent that could become extremely valuable in the future. While many consumers perceive intellectual property as being a complex matter, branding mechanisms are fairly simple to understand; however, when it comes to protecting your intellectual property you should consult with an experienced business attorney who has had experience with whatever type of intellectual property you want to register.

Copyrights are a very common type of intellectual property, and many people get them confused with trademarks, or service marks. Copyrights protect artistic expressions that are created such as music or literature, or in terms of technology or business—software or architecture. Trademarks are vital to branding, and along with that usually comes a symbol that designates your business, allowing for familiarity with the public that is or will be buying your products. The trademark is an identifier of the goods you offer.

Service marks are a subset of the copyright, but rather than designating products, they are a symbol of the services you offer. The TM is used after a trademark, while the SM is used after a service mark; for either, the ‘R’ encased by a circle is important as it designates formal registration. This is important not only so that customers understand what services are offered, but by which company, and that the mark is protected legally.

The interesting detail about intellectual property is that ownership is technically established as soon as you make your own logo or your own slogan—or after you write that cookbook, a score of music, create new software, or invent something new. The problem is protecting it fully. If someone decides to steal your work intentionally, or if they create something similar—so similar that it is going to affect sales and distribution of your own work, for instance—having registered your intellectual property could be well worth it in case you have to communicate with the other party about ceasing activities revolving around such work, or worse, if you must sue them for infringement with the help of your attorney and take them to court.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!


Understanding the Approval Process for Getting a Patent

Intellectual property is one of the more subtle assets you may own personally, or through your business, and especially with the patent. It can also be one of the more exciting ways to create branding mechanisms, whether you are creating stationary or letterhead for your company with your logo for trademarking, along with using a symbol denoting your goods in different types of logos or in a variety of different advertising forums. You may also be involved in creating artistic expressions that require copyrighting, whether you have made something personal like a work of literature or music, or a business item like software or architecture.

Patents can be more complex, more expensive, and take longer to attain (with the average time period being 21 months from the application date); however, chances are, the works you created took an extensive amount of time and are worth protecting from competitors. In applying for a patent, first you must understand the differences between the three types: design, utility, and plant.

A design patent is considered purely to be made for aesthetics:

“Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture,” states the USPTO.

The utility patent offers a use, and is categorized as functional:

“Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matters, or any new useful improvement thereof. By far, most patent applications filed at the USPTO are utility applications,” states the USPTO.

The plant patent:

“Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.”

Some inventions may be both aesthetically pleasing and functional, and you may want or need two different patents if the process is not too cost prohibitive. It is vital, however, to also make sure this invention is not one that has already been disclosed to the public, so you much do a search first—and the USPTO also recommends searching internationally. You can also find out more about costs here.

Dealing with and applying for patents if you do not have prior knowledge or intellectual property law knowledge can be difficult and it is in your best interest to hire a skilled attorney for help.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

Why Does It Take So Long to Get a Patent?

While designing a logo or coming up with a slogan or a patent for a new company may seem like a simple thing to do when you are first dreaming up your business model, intellectual property has the potential to become one of the most valuable things you will ever own; in fact, this is one of the biggest reasons you should have a skilled business attorney working with you in founding your company, as well as someone who is experienced enough to guide you in intellectual property matters — especially patents, which can be more complicated (and most would probably agree that the items being patented are more complicated to create too).

Although copyright law, trademarks, service marks, and more can be complicated, patents really can be complex to apply for and it is in your best interest to have legal help for the application process with the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO). The process may be costly and can take some time. While it may seem inconvenient to have to wait so long for a patent to be approved, it is a comprehensive process on the part of the USPTO, with utility patents usually taking longer than design patents; in fact, they could stretch out even beyond five years from the date of application. A design patent usually takes around 18 months on average.

In working with an attorney, it may take up to several weeks just to have the application completed correctly. Keep in mind that while you are waiting for approval from the USPTO, the status on your invention will be ‘patent pending,’ and you can begin (or continue) making, selling, and even licensing your invention. You may also be able to pay for prioritized examination of your patent, but these slots are limited, coveted, and expensive.

The bottom line is, no matter how you go about the process, your intellectual property should be as protected as possible. For most items though, it becomes your intellectual property as soon as you create it. The only difference is that if you have not registered for something specific like a patent for an invention, it could be stolen by another interested (and greedy!) party, and you could have to fight to prohibit them from using your design. If you have protected your intellectual property with the proper applications and registration, you have a much better chance of winning in court.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!


What Does a Trademark Actually Protect?

As a business owner, you will usually have an exhausting list of tasks on your plate, whether counted daily, monthly, or annually. You may even have many customers or clients who visit your business frequently and mention how wonderful it seems to own your own business. Often you may agree with them—and even encourage them to open their own businesses; however, many others of us find ourselves chasing that American Dream diligently, until we discover that it is extremely challenging to stay on top in the marketplace.

Most business owners are busy keeping up with the constant challenge of having enough capital, keeping the growing list of bills paid, and trying to keep everyone happy, managing employees, managing inventory, keeping the peace with partnerships, and the list goes on.

One area of protection and one major task that can be easily overlooked when your business is new, especially, and you are worrying about many other important things, is the trademark. The trademark is essentially, your brand. This may designate your products, with a logo or a symbol or even a mark on stationary. Trademarks may also be given for services, as service marks are a subset of the trademark category.

With registration of a trademark you have numerous legal benefits to include the right to use that trademark and its corresponding symbol, along with the right to sue someone for infringement if they try to steal your intellectual property. With the help of an experienced intellectual property or trademark attorney, you will need to apply through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Before registering for a copyright or trademark, or any other intellectual property, it is also a good idea to make sure no one else has registered anything similar. Keep in mind too that intellectual property is yours, owned by you, as soon as it comes to being—whether in your home or company. Registering it just gives you greater leverage if someone were to steal your intellectual property.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

intellectual property attorney

Filing a Patent: Why You Should Work with an Intellectual Property Attorney

If your business has reached the point where you are ready to file a patent, it is critical for protection of your assets that you consult with an experienced intellectual property attorney. This is even more true when filing for patents, as they can be much more intricate than filing for a copyright or trademark—but you may have those already or need to apply for them as well. This is not something that should be overlooked, even if it does not seem so important right now—any intellectually property you create in the beginning, or at any point for your company, could become extremely valuable to you one day and the last thing you want is someone stealing it!

Running a business is a multifaceted endeavor, to say the least. Most of your days are probably extremely busy with the daily activities of keeping the clients coming in, working with your team and making sure they have an organized workload, proper scheduling, and all that is associated with human resources. Most business owners and their managers are also responsible for many long days and weekends too, working with their teams while also paying the bills, ordering and keeping inventory straight, and working with business partners who may take on work in varying degrees.

You may also have independent contractors who are responsible for creating innovations behind a patent that your company may be registering. If this is the case, make sure that you have the correct contracts (confidentiality, non-disclosure, and more) in place so they are not disgruntled later and so you do not lose intellectual property that you paid for, or paid for to be developed.

Filing a patent may be somewhat different than you expect, and the process may be much slower than you expect, taking 21 months on average. Writing a patent is a challenging task, and much specific information must be given regarding your invention. There are several different types of patent you can apply for through the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The categories are separated into utility patent, provisional patent, or a design patent. The application progress process can be complex, and because this is certain such an important process, is generally not suggested that you go it alone.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

Can there Be More Than One Owner for a Patent?

For an entrepreneur, there is nothing more exciting than getting into the momentum of innovation, creating a business plan and a business model—not to mention an incredible business product that you know will make an impact within your industry. And even though your business may be new, capital may always be a pressing concern, and you may have a lot on your plate in every way, protecting intellectual property is just as important as protecting everything else in your business; in fact, without the proper protection now, you could find yourself extremely regretful later if someone has stolen a patent, or even a copyright or trademark.

Patents can be complex to apply for, and on average take around 21 months to come through from the date of applying. Dealing with the patent application process is a job for an intellectual property attorney, or more specifically a patent attorney. Unless you have extensive legal knowledge, writing a patent and completing the process most likely would prove to be very challenging, and considering how long it takes a patent to be approved, it is critical to have your application filled out correctly.

There may be added complications in applying for the patent also, if there is some question as to ownership. Did you hire an independent contractor who came in and worked on a dynamic, exciting new project, creating the intellectual property that was left to your business permanently? If so, you should have an airtight contract with them, detailing the work they did, the duration of their employment, and making it very clear that any work created for the company belongs to the company. If you do feel comfortable with having them as part owner of the patent, then that should be in a written contract, or agreed upon if the patent is created later and is not included in any of the details of their initial contract.

There can be more than one owner for a patent, however, and if that is the case, both should be listed on the application as joint owners. There could be some gray area, however, if for example you created the entire invention and lead the process from beginning to end, while the other person only did work as instructed. In that case, they were really acting in the stead of an employee rather than an inventor. Because innovation today can be so valuable tomorrow, it could be vital to the success of your company to have everything in writing.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!