Most lawyers know that the value of a business is made up of the value of its assets. Tangible assets like stocks, bonds and real estate have relatively straightforward methods of valuation. By contrast, intangible assets such as patents are much harder to value. Continue reading →
Have you ever written a computer program, song, article, painted a picture, taken a photo, designed unique jewelry, or other work, and wondered if you should copyright it? There is good news: copyright law, unlike patent law, protects a work as soon as it is fixed in a tangible medium. For example, as soon as an artist paints a picture, the picture is protected by copyright. Now you may wonder, why register the work? There are substantial benefits to registration.
Intellectual property has almost limitless value. Microsoft Corporation has a stranglehold on computer operating systems due to its intellectual property. If the Windows™ operating system could be freely copied, Microsoft would be devastated. If the Coca-Cola Company did not obtain and enforce its many trademarks, we might all be drinking Pepsi™. Intellectual property protection promotes growth by limiting competition.
Identity theft is something we all hope never happens to us. The recommended steps to prevent identity theft include carefully protecting financial documents, periodic monitoring of our credit reports, never giving out our social security number without good reason, etc. Trademarks should also be carefully guarded, because they are your business identity.
Patent Reexamination is a procedure by which the USPTO reconsiders the validity of the claims of an issued patent in view of prior art which was not considered during the original prosecution. This article will discuss the patent reexamination procedure, and a later post will discuss some of the advantages, disadvantages, and possible consequences clients must consider when filing for reexamination.
Copyrights cover a work, such as a picture, a painting, a literary work or a video, and trademarks cover a word, slogan, phrase, logo, image, or sound when used in connection with a good or service, such as wine or clothing. Although copyright and trademark can appear to overlap, they are separate and distinct types of protection. Ownership of a copyright on an image does not mean you own that image as a trademark, and ownership of a trademark that uses an image does not mean you own a copyright on the image.