Intellectual Property

Trademark, Copyright, and Licensing: Protect your Intellectual Property

Protecting your intellectual property is of utmost importance to most businesses. Product names, graphic design, photographs, websites, logos, software and other business materials may be protected through various means, including trademarks, copyrights,A�contractual relationships, confidentiality/ non-disclosure agreements and license agreements.

Trademark Application Process

You may be tempted to apply for a federal trademark yourself. Although the initial application process seems deceptively easy, there are many pitfalls in pursuing such a strategy. The trademark registration process with the US Patent and Trademark Office can take at least two years to complete and many factors can complicate it. Hiring an experienced attorney to help you navigate the process, conduct a thorough trademark search and draft and prosecute the application will help you secure the protection you need.

Alternatively, you may believe registration of a trademark at the state level offers you adequate protection. Without federal trademark registration, your rights can be limited and potentially compromised.

Trademark Search

Clearance searches are important prior to using and/or registering a trademark (for goods) or a service mark (for services).A� You dona��t want to invest time and money developing a brand only to receive a cease and desist letter or find you cannot register it or must stop using it.A� Descriptive terms which are similar to existing marks pose problems.A� You want to select a mark which is available for use and capableA�of registration and protection.A� You can rely on Richards Dukes Law to monitor the process from the trademark search to the registration and renewal of your trademark.

Copyright Protection

Copyright protects original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

  • Reproduce the work
  • Prepare derivative works based upon the work
  • Distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
  • Perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work
  • Perform the work publicly (in the case of sound recordings) by means of a digital audio transmission

In the case of works made for hire, the employer and not the employee is considered to be the author. Section 101 of the copyright law defines a a�?work made for hirea�? as:

1. a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or

2.A� a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as:

  • a contribution to a collective work
  • a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work
  • a translation
  • a supplementary work
  • a compilation
  • an instructional text
  • a test
  • answer material for a test
  • an atlas if the parties expressly agree in a signed, written instrument

For more information on filing a federal registration for a trademark or copyright or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.