Your business depends on logos, advertising phrases, inventions, or other artistic work. You want it protected, not pirated. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people in the marketplace who will steal your work if they see profit in doing so.
If you have a unique invention, work of literature or art, particular symbol, or logo that the public identifies with your business, speak with a skilled attorney at Sparks Law. An Atlanta intellectual property lawyer can help you protect what is yours and advise on legal options if someone has infringed on your rights.
Patents, copyrights, and trademarks protect intellectual property in the United States. Patents and trademarks are granted and governed by The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Copyrights are registered by The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. Those who are unsure about seeking protection for their ideas should consult an intellectual property attorney at our Atlanta office for assistance.
Patents protect inventors’ ideas for twenty years, which means no one can copy, use, or sell the same invention. Utility patents are issued for products with a specific use, while design patents are issued based on an item’s appearance. Plant patents are issued for plants that reproduce asexually.
Patent rights can be transferred, such as from an individual to a large company that will produce and market the invention. Patents allow owners to profit in the marketplace. For instance, drug companies that exclusively sell their patented pharmaceuticals profit until a less expensive, generic version enters the market when the patent expires. The Patent and Trademark Office will deny patents for products it deems valueless, offensive, or standard.
Once an artistic idea is captured, such as a book manuscript that is still in a file on the author’s computer, it is protected by copyright laws. Copyrights are issued for creative expression works like poems, novels, non-fiction, songs, and movies. These works are protected even if the owner does not prove that their work was registered. Owners have the right to display, sell, or perform their work, and they can permit others to copy it. For instance, a playwright can allow performances on Broadway. Traditionally, copyrights extend seventy years past the owner’s death.
Trademarks protect slogans, logos, names, and any other branding marks that help identify a company’s product as unique. For instance, the Nike swoosh is trademarked, so a competing shoe company cannot dupe the public into thinking Nike makes their product. Trademarks can last forever and should be registered with help from an experienced attorney.
There are various types of paperwork involved in applying for intellectual property protection. There are different types of protection available depending on what is being protected:
To avoid confusion, intellectual property should be registered and publicized on the product itself with special marks for trademarks and copyrighted work. Because this can be complicated, it is best to consult an intellectual property attorney in the area to ensure on successfully navigating the registration process.
The 1994 adoption of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) strengthened intellectual property laws with guidance from the World Trade Organization (WTO). There are international criminal penalties for anyone who pirates original goods that are trademarked or copyrighted. A knowledgeable attorney at our firm can further explain these intellectual property laws to Atlanta entrepreneurs looking to protect their work.
Humans have always come up with better ways to do things and entertain each other. From inventions for harvesting crops to popular books and movies, the world needs creative endeavors. If you are an influential creator, your work merits protection.
Call Sparks Law today to schedule your initial consultation with an Atlanta intellectual property lawyer. We could help you register your work or pursue legal action against those infringing upon your rights.