Tag: Intellectual property attorney

Intellectual Property May Be Intangible, But Invaluable

So many ingredients must fall into place to create a thriving business today—and while putting together an initially intangible business model and then watching it (and controlling it) as it unfolds can be a slightly terrifying experience, it can ultimately be one of the most rewarding, both personally and financially. It may take years or even decades to build up a nest-egg for yourself and your commercial holdings, but there are some ways you can begin to create assets from the beginning. Intellectual property is a perfect example, and it may be critical to the success of your business.

Depending on what your business offers to the public, you may need a trademark or a service mark to begin; in fact, a trademark can be critical to building a foundation as you create a logo and both existing and potential customers become familiar with your products and your services. Your trademark could be with you for a very long time—just consider how long some of the most popular apparel or fast-food restaurants have had the same logo!

Intellectual property is in many ways completely intangible if you own a trademark or a service mark, and indeed these items are necessary and may prove to be invaluable; however, items such as copyrights may protect items that are very available such as a screenplay which you can hold and read, or an architectural work that has obvious tangible value. The results of patents are extremely tangible too, obviously, when beyond the concept and design phase.

Any intellectual property you create is yours upon inception. Technically, you are the owner of whatever logo or invention or artistic expression you may bring into existence; however, that does not mean you are protected! Many individuals are surprisingly blatant about stealing—and using—the work of others. This may include others or companies from different countries also. Applying for registration and licensing is critical but can be complex, time-consuming, sometimes costly, and may take months or even years to come through in some cases. Because of this, and the value intellectual property has to your business, it is critical to work with a skilled intellectual property attorney.

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 Topics: How is the Trademark Enforced?

Whether you are applying for a trademark, copyright, or patent, intellectual property can be one of the most important assets you or your business will ever own. And although technically you own intellectual property as soon as you create it, without solid protection from the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the U.S. Copyright Office, you may have no legal recourse later in the case of infringement

Intellectual property, although required for many businesses to get ahead and to make a name for themselves in their industry, is a complex area of law and is often intimidating to business owners and individuals who may be creating a brand, or innovating in a wide range of products or services.
The trademark is necessary if you need to offer distinction between your products and those of other companies, as well as the services your business offers. The trademark is often also referred to as the brand-name, which makes sense as symbols like the ‘whoosh’ sign for Nike offer familiarity for consumers.

With the help of a skilled intellectual property attorney, you can search other trademarks and service marks, ensuring there is not already conflicting material registered. These types of searches are important so that you do not run into a legal issue later, allowing you to apply for a trademark without worry on your end, registering with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and then enforcing legal action against anyone who may attempt to infringe.

Keep in mind also that the service mark is a subset of the trademark category, delineating not products, but rather announcing what you do. If either of these are infringed on, and you do have your trademark registered, you have numerous options—but this is not the time to go it alone! With the help a skilled intellectual property attorney from The Bolender Law Firm, you can request that the other party stop using your branding mechanisms, and a court order may be issued. You may also see an order issued for the other party to get rid of the infringing items, you may be owed damages, and infringer may even be forced to pay attorney’s fees.

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!


After the Patent Expires—Understanding the Public Domain

Intellectual property law is complex, and many entrepreneurs may not only feel too busy to understand IP in terms of application and registration, ownership—and ultimately, protection of the future—but they may also be intimidated by the entire process, and especially when filing a patent. No matter what though, IP is important to your own personal creations and those of your business. Intellectual property allows the global economy to thrive as invention and innovation are encouraged around the world. With your intellectual property duly protected, you also then have the free time required to focus on your business and expand research and development activity.

Patents can be extremely important for inventors, and especially valuable to a business focused on creating products and processes, for example. Dealing with a patent, and applying for one is best achieved with the help of an experienced intellectual property attorney who can help you determine what type of protection you actually need as well as searching to ensure there is not already a patent for an identical or similar invention. A skilled attorney will help you through the overall process of applying for a patent, as well as dealing with issues that may arise before you gain final approval. Getting a patent usually takes around a year or more, and you may have to jump through some hoops before you attain your goal.

But what happens if you go to all that effort, not only to bring forth innovation but then also to apply and register it, only to have your patent expires after around 20 years? While this can be good for the public domain in terms of innovations and processes that are in demand, you may be worried about what will happen once details of your invention emerge. And while you may be able to hold onto some of your trade secrets, once a patent is in the public domain that means that others have access to your prized work whether you wanted that to be the case or not.

There is also the chance that you may release your work into the public domain deliberately, allowing anyone to use it without permission—or you may release it into the public domain with restrictions on it too. None of these actions are recommended without the help of an experienced intellectual property attorney, however. 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 Intellectual Property is Important to the World Economy

Intellectual property can be extremely useful to your business, and while it may just seem like a task at first to set up trademarks and service marks or to go as far as creating copyrights or patents, in the future, such work could prove to be extremely valuable – and so much so that if anyone were to steal your branding or innovations, you would need to take legal action.

No matter how new or how established your business is, you may be engaged in creating logos, letterhead, slogans, and more, all to be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). That goes for both trademarks and service marks, delineated between registering the symbol that familiarizes the public with your product, and the services that you offer.

If you have been involved in creating copyrights (to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) or patents (to be registered with the USPTO), this could be an integral part of your business also as innovative new designs could be helping to further your own processes or manufacturing and what you have to offer your customer base—but could also soon be in demand by others—around the world even.

Intellectual property does in many ways drive a large portion of the economy, beginning at your local level and contributing throughout the country and in some cases internationally; in fact, businesses that own and produce intellectual property ‘intensively’ tend to employ more people, grow faster, earn more commercially, and pay more to their employees.

Today, the US intellectual property worth is close to $6 trillion, and that is higher than every other country. Intellectual property is also responsible for 74 percent of all US exports. Protection of any intellectual property that you own can be critical—including making sure that you have solid agreements with any independent contractors who may be working for your company and helping you to create new IP.

Although intellectual property is technically owned by you as soon as you create it, registering with the proper entities allows you greater legal protection should you need it. This is a legal area that can be complex, however, and whether you are dealing with IP issues or other complexities in your business, consult with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

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!

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!


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!


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!


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!

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!

Does Your Business Need to Apply for a Patent?

Creating a business model is a multi-faceted project, and one that can be ongoing throughout the lifetime of your company. Along with this comes a host of other responsibilities such as creating your brand, establishing partnerships and agreements, hiring, establishing benefits packages, designing marketing campaigns—and oh yes, somewhere in there too: establishing a solid client base! There are many elements to founding and maintaining a healthy business, and while there is much to protect, intellectual property must be at the top of the list.

You may be an inventor yourself, or either full-time employees or independent contractors may be creating innovative products for your company. And although that is another somewhat complex subject, if you do have independent contractors working for you, it is vital that you have airtight agreements to protect what is your property essentially—unless stated otherwise. Before you wonder about patents further though, understand how they are defined. According to the United States Patent and Trade Office, a patent is issued when they grant property rights for an invention to the inventor. It does not expire for 20 years after filing of the application and gives you the right to exclude everyone else from using the invention, making it, and selling it in the US. Everyone else is also excluded from importing it into the US.

“Once a patent is issued, the patentee must enforce the patent without aid of the USPTO,” states the USPTO.

“The patent law specifies the general field of subject matter that can be patented and the conditions under which a patent may be obtained,” continues USPTO information.

 “In the language of the statute, any person who ‘invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent,’ subject to the conditions and requirements of the law. The word ‘process’ is defined by law as a process, act, or method, and primarily includes industrial or technical processes. The term ‘machine’ used in the statute needs no explanation. The term ‘manufacture’ refers to articles that are made and includes all manufactured articles. The term ‘composition of matter’ relates to chemical compositions and may include mixtures of ingredients as well as new chemical compounds. These classes of subject matter taken together include practically everything that is made by man and the processes for making the products.”

 If your business owns rights to an invention that needs this type of protection, then you do need to apply for a patent. Work with an experienced intellectual property attorney from an office like the Bolender Law Firm. There are some pre-application steps that are very important and getting help from a legal professional versed in patents is in your best interest as you determine what type of patent you need, whether there are other similar (or identical) ones in existence already, and more. Understanding patent laws and the application process can be complicated.

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!