Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) is the area of law intended to protect the rights of artist and inventors and their exclusive rights to their artistic and commercial creations. This field of law can include anything from brand names, logos, images, colors, formulas, recipes, music, lyrics, literature, art, designs, drafts, photographs, software, and any kind of theorized or materialized creative concept. Intellectual property incorporates laws and regulations that include the protection of specific legal rights for patents, copyrights, trademarks, and related creative subject matter.

  • Patents are approved for new, useful, and non-obvious inventions. Patent law allows the holder to prevent others from recreating or expanding on his/her invention without a license or expressed permission from the inventor.
  • Trademarks restrict the use of an identifying logo, private label, distinctive sign, unique character, individual design, or exclusive color combination, used to distinguish specific products in the marketplace.
  • Copyright laws protect the exclusive rights of the holder to control the reproduction, recreation, distribution, or adaptation of his/her creative material such as paintings, photographs, books, plays, movies, lyrics, music, and software.
  • Industrial property characteristically covers the laws and rights of creative designs and inventions utilized in industrial or commercial settings.
  • Industrial design protects the structural appearance, unique style, or creative design of a product intended for industrial and commercial purposes.
  • Trade secrets are private company guidelines or product specific information regarding the commercial intentions, marketing practices, or proprietary information of a business.

Public marketing or disclosure of creative works, commercial symbols, trade secrets, or inventions is illegal unless the IP license holder has granted permission for the use, recreation, or distribution of their original creation. Unauthorized use of any intellectual property amounts to theft and can be prosecuted. Like anything of value, other people and businesspersons constantly seek intellectual property. Improper, unlicensed, or unauthorized use can be prevented by adequately securing the intellectual property. Intellectual property lawyers can assist you in protecting your rights to your artistic or commercial creations and answer any questions you may have regarding intellectual property law.

The origin of intellectual property law

While intellectual property may appear as something that has been put forth relatively recently, the origins of IP are found in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8 Clause 8). The article states that, congress shall have the power to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing exclusive rights to authors and inventors for their respective writings and discoveries for specified periods of times.

Categories of intellectual property law include:

  • Patents
  • Trademark
  • Copyright
  • Industrial property
  • Industrial design
  • Trade secret

If you are an author, artist, or inventor and your intellectual property has been wrongfully used, reproduced, or sold by others, you should consult intellectual property law firms since you may be in a position to be granted a temporary restraining order, or a preliminary or permanent injunction to stop further infringement.

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