Tag: Intellectual property attorney

copyright

What Does a Copyright Protect?

While it may seem ridiculous to have to register your own ideas to own them, it isn’t really that complicated in the beginning; you are the owner of any expressions of artistic work as soon as you create them! Even without getting outside help or registering with a government entity such as the U.S. Copyright Office, a work of literature or music is instantaneously copyrighted to you. And while there may not be any paperwork to prove this, most likely you are in possession of the item and for anyone else to try and copyright it is either a highly coincidental occurrence or they have stolen the work from you.

Some individuals will take the extra step to create what is often referred to as a poor man’s copyright, mailing themselves a copy of a work or having it established with a notary and a signature and a date bearing evidence of the origins and date. Even that is not necessary though. As soon as you have written that screenplay, as soon as it is on paper with your name attached to it, the copyright is yours. It must, however, be a physical item—an idea or concept is not enough for a copyright and cannot be protected as such.

Intellectual property can be extremely valuable in some cases and should be protected. With the common law copyright, you are given some assurances that no one else can steal your work, but you could be on very shaky ground if you were forced to take legal action against another party for infringement. If you register your work, you then have exclusive rights to copy or distribute your work as you wish, make a sequel or follow-up work to the original, or display the work in the public or take it one step further by making a book or other expression into something like a play.

With proper registration, anyone infringing upon you could face penalties; in some cases, however, you may wish to license a copyright, trademark, service mark or other intellectual property to someone else, give permission for them to use your work, or you may even want to sell your copyrighted work. Other examples of works protected by copyright include:

  • Software programs
  • Architectural plans
  • Buildings
  • Choreography
  • Sculpture
  • Sound recordings

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!

Selling Your Business Patent

Looking back on every business you went into over the past week to complete errands or make purchases, consider that each one of them (even the franchises!) sprang originally from a dream, an idea, a concept in someone’s mind that could eventually turn into an invention requiring a business patent. Coupled with drive and determination, that idea turned into a real product or service, situated at a real business site—with all the real responsibilities of bringing in clients, maintaining capital, managing employees, and more.

And while you are probably a customer at many other businesses on a regular basis, you may also be an entrepreneur running a company of your own where it is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind that you forget what the original inspiration or motivation was to begin with. Staying fresh and continuing to innovate is vital to any business though, and while you may have trademarks or service marks already in place—perhaps even copyrights—you, your employees, or independent contractors may also be continuing to create intellectual property like patents.

A patent is defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as an invention which can be divided into three categories: utility, design, or plant (and yes, that literally refers to the discovery or creation of a new plant). Once you have registered for a patent—and it is highly recommended that you work with an intellectual property attorney in doing so—you may have a bit of a wait, anywhere from a matter of months to almost two years on average, and very possibly even longer. A patent is usually good for around 20 years and means that you have the sole rights to manufacturing and distribution.

In some cases, you may have a patent that you want to sell—or you may want to grant licensing rights. While selling it is a great way to make income that could perhaps fund another invention, it is permanent. Speak to your attorney about the best route for your business, along with the legalities of selling it, along with considering whether your better option would be to sell licensing and perhaps collect royalties. Working with another entity for licensing can be tricky so do not go it alone when negotiating agreements and drafting contracts.

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!

business trademark

Renewing Your Business Trademark

There are so many elements to running a business, and if you are operating a new start-up or running a business by yourself, several priorities take precedent over everything else in the beginning. You must have a place to operate your business and getting this squared away can be full-time for a while, whether you are buying or renting; either way, you must deal with real estate or leasing agents, finances, contracts, and make some big decisions. A business model must already be in place too—and it may be requested by either the bank or a potential landlord as they seek assurance that you will be able to pay your bills. Most importantly, you must have capital to get the ball rolling—and keep it rolling! This will pave the way for success and allow you to hire a team and purchase inventory and keep doing so.

The Trademark May Become Integral to Your Brand

Once you have the essentials lined up, everything else will fall into place—to include advertising, marketing, and setting goals for your employees. Whether you have a full-time team in place or are working with independent contractors—or a mixture thereof—projects will be on-going and creating intellectual property will be important as you go on. Items such as the trademark may be vital to your business early on, however, as they give the public a way to familiarize themselves with your brand and may even invoke a certain emotion in customers when they see your logo or symbol. And while this may just be a simple idea in the beginning as your brand is born, be aware that your intellectual property can be extremely valuable later—which is why you should protect your trademark by registering it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office from the beginning, even if it is somewhat protected by common law from the moment you create it.

Renew Your Trademark for Indefinite Use

A trademark can be extremely beneficial to your business, and it is also long-lasting if you keep up with renewals. Starting out, this intellectual property protection is good for ten years, and then as long as you keep up with the required paperwork and keep renewing it, your trademark is protected indefinitely in ten-year stretches. If you fail to meet the renewal dates, it will be canceled by the USPTO.

Contact Us for Help Now!

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!

Registering with the USPTO: What if Someone Already Has the Same Trademark as Mine?

Intellectual property can be exciting to create—and especially when you realize you are onto something truly innovative that will be in demand from the public. Along with everything your business owns over time, you may realize that it is one of your greatest assets, and one that must be protected with great care.

Trademarks Are a Very Common Form of Intellectual Property

While copyrights protect artistic expressions and patents grant rights to inventors, the trademark is one of the most ubiquitous forms of intellectual property—so much so that you may not even realize you are recognizing a company unconsciously in the blink of an eye, due to a basic symbol on a website or street sign. And if you think of trademarks for some of the most famous companies in the world, you may be amazed at the simplicity of their logos or crests. Unfortunately, legal issues can arise when it comes to intellectual property, and although it does become yours (or that of your business) as soon as you bring it into inception, registering it gives you much greater protection if someone infringes on what you believe to be yours.

Be Aware of Other Trademarks Like Yours

Before you register your trademark or service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, consult with an intellectual property attorney from a firm like the Bolender Law Firm to research whether or not there is already something identical or similar in place that could lead to legal headaches later. Although your attorney will be able to advise you further on registration issues, most likely if there is another trademark or service mark that resembles yours and is owned by another company offering the same types of products and services, it will be rejected by the USPTO. State-to-state searches may be recommended as well.

While the registration process may take anywhere from three months to a year or more, you could be protecting one of the most important facets of your brand—a valuable commodity in the modern business world. Work with your attorney to make sure you are setting yourself up for success with a strong mark and an understanding of what you need to do to continue to protect your trademark throughout the years.

Contact Us 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!

intellectual property

Intellectual Property: Does Common Law Really Play a Role?

While there are the numerous headaches that abound in creating a company, much of the process is incredibly exciting and fulfilling—especially if you are offering a new and unique product or service to the public. You or your company overall may also be responsible for creating valuable intellectual property. This could result in the need for copyright protection, warding off infringement of works such as art, literature, music, or even architecture or software. Trademarks or service marks are licensed for branding identifiable symbols or logos, or slogans that identify what you do.

Intellectual Property Belongs to You as Soon as You Create It

You may be surprised to find out, however, that as soon as you created that artistic expression or symbol of your brand, it became yours—with no further action required. Common law does indeed apply to items that fall under the definition of a copyright or a trademark or service mark and may even be enough of a defense if someone attempts to steal your work. What are the benefits of just allowing yourself to be covered by common law? One, it’s effortless. Two, there is no more expense involved, unless you are drawn into a costly legal battle to protect your intellectual property. Be aware though that protection only applies to use of the products or services within the area they are expected to be in use.

Registering Your Work is Recommended

Common law gives you basic rights to, and coverage for what you have created, but without going through the U.S. Copyright Office of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you may be out of luck later if you find yourself in a situation where you are up against another party that stubbornly wants to use your material, and may have considerably more resources to steamroll over you. When your work is registered, it also shows up in searches when others are trying to find out whether there is something similar in existence; if you are not listed in that database, you could be opening yourself up to complication.

Figuring out how to protect your company’s intellectual property may seem like a daunting task, but with the help of an experienced intellectual property attorney, you can gain more of an understanding of how the process works, as well as its importance. An attorney will also be able to explain to you what types of licensing or registration to apply for and take care of it for you. While you may not see a dire need currently, this type of protection could prove itself to be very valuable later.

Call Us 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!

intellectual property topics

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

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!