Intellectual Property….how is it defined….

Greetings from Cocoa Beach!  Sorry I have not blogged recently…..between my work schedule, SMI OctoberFest Tradeshow and travel….there simply has been no time for anything else …including sleep!  But I am back and after this weekend …rested and ready!

From time to time we have clients ask us about “CopyRights”,  “Trademarks” and “Patents” and most of the time…they are uncertain as to what each are and how they work.  In an effort to share a little information on each…please see the following:

“Intellectual Property” is the body of law that protects your work in human intelligence, Inventions, creative work, and logos and brand names of the products and services we sell.  These big “three” are called “Patents” ,  “Trademarks” and “Copyrights” !

A “Trademark” ( or Mark ) refers to any word, name, symbol or device ( or combination of these ) that is used in commerce to designate or identify the goods of a specific manufacturer.  This prevents other competitors from creating brand confusion by using your logo, symbol, colors etc.  Federal trademarks must be renewed every 10 years to maintain the protection.

A “Copyright” protects original works of “authorship”.  Most writings and artistic creations are subject to copyright protections including books, photos, music and computer programs.  Copyright arises as soon as a work is fixed in a tangible medium….written, painted, filmed or recorded.  Life of the protection is the “life of the author plus 70 years”.

A “Patent” covers three types of situations.  Utility Patents,  Design Patents and Plant Patents.  A utility patent is granted to one who invents or discovers a new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture or improvement of such.  A U.S. patent excludes anyone else from making, using, selling or importing the invention.  Patent protection for a “Utility” patent lasts 20 years and a “Design” patent for 14 years. NOTE:  There are exceptions to these time frames but you must consult a “Patent Attorney” to determine if you qualify.

There are years of legal rulings that impact these “general” statements above…and if you are contemplating any of these actions, consult ( as much as I hate to say it ) a professional Intellectual Property attorney first.

That is it for today………Until next time….


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