Intellectual property rights

In the United States, much of our economy is driven by intellectual property, or the inventions and creations of others. In fact, as much as 40% of economic growth is due to intellectual property, which accounts for at least half of our exports. Intellectual property covers branded products, brand names, inventions, and creative works — the kinds of things that we see an interact with every day. This means that anything artistic, like a book or a song you hear on the radio, is intellectual property. The computer and phone you use are, too.

Many people who have created something may attempt to get that item patented, trademarked, or copyrighted, but some aren’t quite sure of the differences. Additionally, a creator may find that he or she needs the help of an intellectual property lawyer to understand the copyright, trademark, or patent process steps. Working with an intellectual property lawyer also gives you better ways to protect intellectual property.

When might a person need a lawyer for their creation? There are several situations where it’s useful to have an attorney who is well-versed in intellectual property rights on your side. Here are some times when you or your company may require an attorney:

When you have to patent something
If you’ve invented an actual object, you’ll need a utility patent; those who add ornamental designs or create a design need design patents. Plant patents are used for botanists. Any type of patent should be filed through a lawyer who understands what it is you have invented.

When you need a trademark
If you own a business, you have probably built your own brand and may even have your own branded products. If so, you should seek a trademark in order to prevent others from capitalizing on your name. Trademarks also cover logos and other identifying signs for your business, too.

When your work needs a copyright
Copyright is given to any written (books, short stories, plays, screenplays, songs, etc.) or artistic (drawings, paintings, sculptures, digital, etc.) works. It can also include architectural designs. However, it’s important to know that once a work is created, it is automatically copyrighted, but having IP protection can potentially prevent infringement.

When you’ve experienced intellectual property theft
Intellectual property theft can occur for almost any creation. Insider theft occurs most frequently in the technology sector, accounting for 35% of all cases, and it is followed by banking and finance (13%) and chemical (12%) theft. The most likely culprits: trusted business partners (17%) and former employees (21%). In order to build a case against a perpetrator, it’s best to consult an attorney.

If you have any specific needs for your intellectual property, it’s best to speak with an intellectual property lawyer who will understand your circumstances. For any general information, or to share your own suggestions for protecting intellectual property, leave a comment below. Continue reading here.

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