Intellectual Property Topics: Understanding the Role of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

intellectual property topics

Most businesses today spring from someone’s dream, their inspiration, and the motivation and drive to create products or services that may have not been there before. The reality of founding a new company, however, usually means many hours at the office, enormous sweat equity, and what may seem like countless steps (many of them uphill!) to that launch—and continued success afterward. Once you are up and running, it is vital to either handle or delegate financial matters, ordering, employee hiring and scheduling, and most importantly, continuing to bring in loyal customers.

Your livelihood (and that of everyone who works for you) is centered around the unique products and services that keep people coming in, and because of that they must be guarded. And while either you specifically have created intellectual property relevant to your business, or partners or employees or independent contractors may have done so, your copyrights, trademarks, and patents should not be left open to outside parties who may have every intention of taking them for their own later.

One of the most interesting facts about intellectual property that most are not aware of until they begin considering licenses is that once you create it, the rights are yours. The intellectual property does belong to you, and is protected by common law, but that doesn’t do much for you in a court of law if you must sue another party for stealing a patent or infringing on a trademark. In working with your intellectual property attorney to register your works, you will learn that all patents and trademarks are approved and licensed through the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The USPTO oversees processes for trademark applications and patent applications. As you move forward to register a trademark or a service mark, it is vital to select one that is registrable and realistically, will be one that can be protected legally. You must be able to establish what your mark format as, along with identifying the products and services connected with it. Trademark fees vary, but once everything is submitted, the review process could take months. Once approved, it is yours for ten years, and can be renewed for ten more years after that. In registering a patent, you must include a summary outlining the details of the patent and how it works, any relevant drawings, and then again, the application and fees. The wait for approval could be up to several years, but once approved it is good for around 20 years from the filing date.

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!

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