Tag: Intellectual property attorneys

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!


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!

poor man's copyright

Poor Man’s Copyright: How Does It Work?

If you are a new business owner, protecting intellectual property whether through registering it or using the poor man’s copyright may not be at the top of your list; in fact, you may wonder if you even have anything to worry about yet. Priorities in a budding company usually revolve around raising and maintaining enough capital, building a strong team, and bringing in the customers. There is a lot more to consider for the long term though, and branding is an enormous part of that, with a logo or symbol or perhaps a slogan to put out there as you work to build familiarity within your market. Copyrights though usually apply to items that you have created in an even more artistic fashion, whether your firm publishes literature, produces architectural works, designs graphics, makes software, or more.

If you have already made something you would like covered by a copyright, it may be surprising to find out that as soon as you brought it into existence, it became your intellectual property. This type of common law protection or ‘poor man’s copyright,’ means that you do have a leg to stand on legally if someone else tries to steal your work, however, it may be difficult to fight infringement without a true copyright if your nemesis is aggressive and has plentiful resources. Some believe that the best way to establish a poor man’s copyright is to establish a date by mailing a copy to yourself and leaving it in an unsealed package, or to have it notarized, or other methods that show when you created an original work. That is unnecessary, though, as the copyright is yours as soon as you have written that cookbook or built an architectural structure or other artistic work.

Protecting intellectual property, whether it belongs to you as an individual or a business, is worth it. In most cases, many hours or months—or sometimes years—went into building an artistic work that could become vulnerable if others tried to use it without your permission. Consulting with a skilled intellectual property attorney means that you can do a search to make sure no one else has anything similar already registered, along with giving you protection that lasts for your lifetime, plus 70 years in most cases. This type of public record, established through the U.S. Copyright Office, should give you ample legal recourse if a question arises or if someone begins using the copyright without an agreement.

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!