Intellectual Property (IP) drives a large segment of today’s global economy. Valuable IP rights may exist in products and services we see, hear, and use every day. To maximize the value of your property, it is essential to take proactive steps to protect your assets. Our attorneys listen to you to understand your needs and goals.
We advise our clients on all aspects of intellectual property, including copyrights, licensing, patents, trademarks and trade secrets. Our experience with portfolios of various sizes and industries allows us to offer tailored solutions for our client’s needs and objectives.
Intellectual property is a general term for the categories of rights in intangible creations of the mind. Your intellectual property may fall under four main categories: patents, copyright, trademarks, and trade secrets. Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP attorneys will work with you to achieve your strategic objectives and protect your intellectual property.
What is a Patent? A patent is an exclusive right granted by the US government to an inventor for a limited time to exclude others from:
What can be patented? Patents protect your new and useful inventions and discoveries such as machines, materials, chemical compositions, processes, and designs.
What cannot be patented? Anything that is already publicly known, as well as unprocessed or unmodified natural materials, laws of nature, and abstract ideas.
What types are patents are available? The primary types of patents include:
What is a Copyright? Copyright protects works of authorship fixed in any tangible form or medium of expression. A copyright is an exclusive right granted by the US government to authors for a limited time to exclude others from: reproducing works, distributing copies, publicly performing, or displaying works, making derivative works, and transmitting certain types of works over networks and broadcasts.
What can be copyrighted? Copyright protects works of authorship fixed in any tangible form or medium of expression, including:
What works are not protected by copyright?
How long does copyright protection last?
Do I need to publish or register my work to be protected? Copyright protection exists from the moment it is fixed in a tangible form, regardless of whether it is published, unpublished, or registered. However, your rights to enforce unregistered copyright are limited, and registration provides numerous benefits, including a presumption of validity, recovery of damages, and possible criminal consequences for willful infringers.
What is a Trademark? A trademark protects products, services, and company identifiers like brands, logos, and package designs. They identify which person or company is the source or origin of goods and services and distinguishes the trademarked goods and services from those made or sold by others.
Trademarks may take the form of:
Trademarks may also take the form of:
Trademarks consisting of colors or packages, products, store designs, or combinations of these features are referred commonly to as “trade dress.”
What cannot be protected as trademarks?
Does my trademark need to be registered? Unregistered trademarks may be protectable under so-called “common law” rights, but these are limited in both geographic reach and the types of remedies available. Registration at the state and federal levels brings many benefits, including a presumption of validity, statewide or nationwide protection, and statutory and enhanced damages recovery.
What is a Trade Secret? A trade secret is business, financial and technical information kept confidential by its owner through reasonable efforts. Trade secrets are economically valuable because the information is not generally known, and it protects commercially valuable confidential information like business and financial plans, formulas, recipes, and customer information.
For example, Coca-Cola’s soda formula, KFC’s fried chicken recipe, and the source code of Adobe’s Photoshop® software are trade secrets.
How do you protect a trade secret?
Trade secrets are not registered like patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Instead, a business could protect its trade secrets by making reasonable efforts to keep this information confidential, for example, by:
How long can a trade secret be protected? Trade secret protection lasts until either:
Our Intellectual Property attorneys can help protect your most valuable business assets. IP can build brand awareness and loyalty among consumers. It establishes protectable legal interests in the goods and services sold by your company and the technology and know-how to produce them. IP also gives you a competitive edge and has intrinsic value that may be sold, licensed, or leveraged for profit. Intellectual Property drives innovation and enables you to enter new markets, grow market share and create jobs.
Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP can protect your IP in a variety of ways:
Understanding the types of protections and what can be protected is the first step to safeguarding your business’s assets. Always bring suspected infringement of your business’s IP to the attention of your CPM attorney.
Your business can reduce its risk of infringing on other companies’ IP rights by consulting with the Intellectual Property team at Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP.
Here are some of the ways we can help your business:
Never assume that what you see in the marketplace, in the media, or on the internet is in the public domain and free to copy, download or use. If you are unsure whether something contains the protected IP of another party, always check with our attorneys before downloading or using it.