Intellectual property law protects your brilliant ideas and creations from other people who would seek to profit from your work. However, there are different rules and requirements for different types of intellectual property and it helps to know which one you’re talking about. Once you know whether you want a copyright or a patent, you know how to seek out the right help from an experienced business attorney.
- Trademarks – Trademarks and service marks are the logos, slogans, and names of businesses and products. You are looking for a trademark to protect the clever name of your new business or product, the design of your logo, or the slogan you always use when describing your brand. A business attorney can walk you through whether or not you can trademark your name, whether you need any special sign-offs, and what the process entails. A trademark is registered in a class of goods or services so that there is only one Tiffany’s jewelry store, but there can still be a Tiffany’s logistics company. They will also explain how you should protect your trademark and keep the filing current.
- Copyright – For the writers of books, the musicians, the photographers, and the programmers of the world, copyright is how you protect your creative work. You have a copyright automatically when you create something, but there are certain situations where you may want to document ownership with the government. In these cases, an attorney can teach you how to file and protect your work. For businesses, an attorney can also walk you through how to license and sell your work appropriately.
- Patent – If you’ve invented a truly novel device or process, then you need to seek out a specialized type of attorney called a patent attorney. In addition to graduating law school, patent attorneys have a technical or scientific background degree and have passed the patent bar. If you’re truly ready to file a patent, your business attorney can help you reach out to a patent attorney with the right technical background for your invention. Keep in mind that of the three types of intellectual property, patents take the longest and are the most expensive to obtain. However, if you’ve invented the next new solar cell or a better wireless repeater, then getting a patent gives you the ability to exclusively manufacture your new product, or license it to another company who can do so for you.
If you have valuable intellectual property, you can use it yourself for your business or you can license it to others. These license agreements can be complex as they limit exactly what the other party can and can’t do with your material. They could be incorporated in franchise agreements or part of a book or movie deal. A savvy business attorney can help you negotiate the details of these agreements to best protect your rights and help you gain the most value from your creation.
If you’d like help determining the best path for your intellectual property protection, filing with the appropriate governmental entity, or negotiating a license agreement, reach out to the team at Virtus Law Firm. Give us a call at 612.888.1000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have the experience to help you protect your creativity.