Knowing your Rights: Intellectual Property Law

Artistic people share a common misnomer – "It will never happen to me." It, in this instance refers to infringement of intellectual property, such as literary works, musical scores, plays, inventions, designs, symbols and/or names developed for commercial use. Unfortunately, plagiarism, counterfeiting, copyright infringement or any use of your intellectual property without having obtained your permission can and will happen. Odds are it could happen to you. You need to talk to an intellectual property lawyer.

Many small business owners are guilty of not knowing and/or ignoring their rights of protection under the intellectual property law. If your business owns or creates original works, you may need ongoing support from an intellectual property lawyer. Let's explore a few areas where an attorney specializing in intellectual property law can be of assistance. Under the umbrella of this law are copyrights, patents and trademarks.

Copyrights: Copyright owners have economic rights to financially profit from their works and to forbid other people to use their works without permission. Owners have exclusive performance, display and replication rights. Ideas aren't copyrightable, the unique expression of ideas are.

Patents: Patents protect inventors of new products. Other people are precluded from making, selling or using patented inventions for a specified time period.

Note: Intellectual property lawyers are versed in the filing of patents, which can be a daunting process for the layman.

Trademarks: Trademarks are implied when a business uses a logo, name or symbol repetitively to distinguish themselves and/or their product from other companies.

Trademarks may include unique aspects, such as color, shape, sound, smell, etc. that help differentiate similar products from each other.

Original works are conceived with sweat equity. The U.S. Government has recognized rights of its citizens to create and profit financially from intellectual property. Strict laws govern the violation of these rights.

Should "it" happen to you, it is imperative to hire an intellectual property lawyer to process and/or litigate your lawsuit against the person(s) who violated your rights. It is not right; furthermore, it is unlawful for people to reap the rewards and residuals of your creative works.

Now that you know the basics, you may want to embark on a fact-gathering journey, including a few names of attorneys who specialize in intellectual law.

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