Intellectual Property Law and Rights

Intellectual property law protects and enforces the rights of inventors, artists, and authors' rights and their creations. Intellectual property (IP) includes music, inventions, writing, and designs.

In promoting creative activity, the public may have access to these creations. However, IP law has established four rights to protect the creator. These include copyright, trademark, patents, and trade secrets.

intellectual property law

Why Is Intellectual Property Law Important?

Many industries rely on the enforcement of these rights to safeguard their creations. In addition, consumers use IP to ensure they purchase reliable, secure goods.

Here are five reasons why intellectual property law is essential:

1. It Promotes Economic Growth and Competitiveness

  • America's IP worth amounts to $6.6 trillion. This is more than the nominal GDP of any other country globally.
  • IP-intensive industries account for 38.2% of the total U.S GDP.
  • IP industries occupy almost ¾ of the U.S's exports.
  • Intangible assets account for 70% of firm asset records. It is also responsible for over 70% of equity value in the U.S.

2. It Helps Create Breakthrough Solutions to Global Challenges

  • Organizations like World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) focused on finding a vaccine for COVID-19. If the law didn't enforce IP rights, vaccine rollouts in 2021 wouldn't have been possible.
  • Innovative agricultural companies create new products to help farmers produce better products.
  • IP-driven discoveries in green technologies help improve and address climate change.

3. It Creates and Supports High-Paying Jobs

  • These industries, directly and indirectly, support 45.5 million jobs. This amounts to roughly 30% of all employment in the U.S.
  • Jobs in IP-intensive industries are plentiful.
  • Workers in an IP-intensive industry earn about 46% more than non-IP industry workers.

4. Intellectual Property Rights Protect Families and Consumers

  • It helps consumers make an educated choice about the reliability and effectiveness of their purchases.
  • The law enforces IP rights to ensure products are authentic and of high quality. This helps build trust with consumers.
  • IP rights build the confidence and ease of mind that consumers demand and markets rely on.

5. It Encourages Innovation and Rewards Entrepreneurs

  • IP rights encourage entrepreneurs to keep working towards new advances, even when facing adversity.
  • IP rights encourage a free flow of information. For example, IP-intensive industries can share the protected information critical to the original, patented invention. This will lead to new innovations and improvements.
  • America's founding fathers protect and enforce strong IP rights for authors and inventors in the U.S Constitution.

What Are Intellectual Property Rights?

Intellectual property rights exist to encourage commerce and innovation. It offers a method of protecting your identity and creations. However, IP rights can only protect the physical manifestation of your creation.

As mentioned earlier, there are four types of intellectual property. To get the most out of your protection, you need to understand which IP rights are relevant to you. Additionally, you'd also need to know how to distinguish between the different protections. Here's what you need to know about the four different types.

1. Copyright

Copyright law protects the right of creators in the physical manifestation of their work. Therefore, others cannot copy, display, or present the owner's work without permission. To ensure its protection, the owner should register their copyright within three months of its creation. After that, the owner may file an infringement lawsuit and likely win their case.

2. Trademarks

This law protects a word, phrase, design, or symbol that the owner uses to identify its goods or services. Some examples include Adidas' three stripes, McDonald's 'M', and Dunkin Donuts orange and pink sausage style lettering.

Trademark owners can prevent others from using their trademarks. They can also prevent others from using confusingly similar marks. Lanham Act is the primary source of trademark protection. Additionally, federal and state laws also govern trademarks.

These laws protect creators against infringement and dilution. Creditors typically gain trademark rights by being the first to register and use a trademark.

Registering your trademark symbols also gives you the right to use registered trademark ® or TM symbols alongside your brand identifiers. The ® symbol applies to registered trademarks, while the TM symbol applies to trademarks not yet duly registered.

3. Patents

This law grants protection for new inventions, including products, processes or designs. It also promotes the sharing of new developments. At the same time, it allows others to foster innovations.

In essence, the patent is a property right that the owner can sell, license, mortgage or assign. This means the patent owner has the right to decide who produces, uses, or distributes the protected item.

4. Trade Secrets

Trade secrets include business practices, designs, formulas or processes used in businesses. These are specifically designed to have a competitive advantage over other businesses.

Trade secrets are usually unknown to people outside of the business. For example, Coca Cola's formula is only known to those within the company. Owners may protect trade secrets without registration. However, appropriate steps should be taken to maintain confidentiality.

Why You Need an Intellectual Property Lawyer?

A crucial business strategy involves the protection of intangible assets. Copyrights, trademarks, and patents help to formalize and protect your IP. This can be attained through well-written and water-tight contracts. In turn, this helps you avoid trademark erosion and other IP rights violations.

Intellectual property lawyers can be effective in helping you protect your asset records. There are three main parts of intellectual property practice: counseling, protection and enforcement. Each has an impact on the client's protection.

1. Client Counseling

Client counseling helps you recognize the most effective way to protect your IP. In trademark law, the client will propose a trademark. The lawyer will then conduct searches on the trademark and counsel the client about its availability.

Suppose the client has already invested time, money, and prior use in a similar industry. In this instance, the lawyer will discuss whether the client should modify or abandon the trademark. Ideally, the lawyer should have a technical background to assess its validity or likelihood of patent infringement.

2. Protection of Intellectual Property

The protection of IP involves registering the trademark, copyright, or patent. Doing so will help the owner uphold the available rights for their assets. With patents and trademarks, the owner must prepare and file an application.

They should then send this to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). The owner should also respond to actions issued by the PTO. This will continue until the PTO registers the trademark or issues the patent. Dealing with this alone can be a daunting task. This is why getting an intellectual lawyer will be beneficial for you.

3. Enforcement of Intellectual Property Law

Finally, the enforcement of intellectual property law involves the protection of the owner's IP. Essentially, the lawyer will protect the client from trademark infringements. This may lead to litigation in federal court.

Aside from these main components, there are other methods of protecting an owner's asset records. While they aren't widely recognized, they are equally important. Some of them may include:

  • The licensing of your intangible assets.
  • Due diligence regarding mergers or acquisitions.
  • Development of strategies for international and domestic intellectual property protection.

Many industries across the U.S economy rely on enforcing their trademarks, patents, and copyrights. These rights help improve and develop society. It is equally important to consumers, mainly because it helps them make reliable purchases.