If you are an entrepreneur, you want people to recognize your business logo or advertising phrase and associate it with a quality product or service. Or you may have invented a unique product, written a screenplay, book, or song, and want protection and the ability to license your innovative property to create a profit.

Your right to control your creations has been protected by the federal government since the first Congress passed original patent and copyright laws in 1790. A Boynton Beach intellectual property lawyer from the Lomnitzer Law Firm could assist you in protecting your work so that you can display and monetize it the way that you want to.

Intellectual Property Protection

Intellectual property is generally comprised of patents, copyrights, and trademarks. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants and oversees the registration of patents and trademarks for commercial purposes. Creative works of art are registered by The U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. Innovators in the Boynton Beach area who are unsure how and where to protect their work should consult an intellectual property attorney for their next steps.

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), adopted in 1994 at the behest of the World Trade Organization (WTO), now imposes criminal penalties internationally on anyone pirating trademarked or copyrighted property. Pirating had become widespread, particularly for movies copied cheaply overseas and then offered for sale on the internet. Knock-off couture items also became a problem for internet auction sites before GATT. In the globalized economy, it is more important than ever to have proper intellectual property protection.

Inventors Protect Their Work with Patents

Once an invention is patented, no other person or entity can copy, use, or sell an identical invention for 20 years. If a product has a specific use, it will be granted a utility patent. An item’s appearance is protected by a design patent and certain plants are protected by plant patents.

Because patents add value to an item, inventors can share the benefits of their inventions with the world by transferring patent rights or licensing them out. Inventors who license a patent give up the right to the property, generally for an agreed-upon time, during which the licensee can produce and sell the product or design, thereby profiting from it. Patent licenses are either exclusive or non-exclusive.

Exclusive Licenses

By mutual consent of all the patent owners, ownership rights to an invention are transferred to the exclusive licensee, although the licensors retain ownership of the title.

Non-Exclusive Licenses

A licensor can grant non-exclusive licenses allowing licensees to produce and sell the invention or design. More than one non-exclusive license can be sold, and the inventor retains all ownership rights. If more than one person holds the patent, only one of them must agree to issue a non-exclusive license. Talk to an experienced patent attorney to discuss an invention that is ready to be licensed.

Protecting Artistic Works with Copyrights

Copyrights are registered to protect creative expression, including books, poems, songs, sculptures, movies, and more. Copyright holders can sell, display, or perform their work and permit others to copy it with permission or by a negotiated agreement benefiting both parties. For example, a novelist can allow their book to be turned into a screenplay or movie, or a band can agree to have their song appear in a commercial. Copyrights generally expire 70 years after the owner’s death.

Protecting Trademarks as Marketing Tools

Trademarks are used in corporate branding for marketing purposes and registered trademarks last indefinitely. Trademarks usually protect:

  • Slogans, such as the coffee slogan ‘Good to the last drop’
  • Logos, such as the Nike swoosh
  • Names, as in any unique corporate identifier
  • Any marks used to identify the product as unique in the market

Once the marketing department determines appropriate identifiers for a product, they should contact a Boynton Beach intellectual property attorney to ensure that they properly register the trademark.

Call a Boynton Beach Intellectual Property Attorney to Protect Your Unique Work

America prides itself in its exceptionalism and entrepreneurial spirit, which is why the government allows inventors to own the art and commercial assets that they create. Whether you are an inventor, business entity, or artist, your work should be yours to produce, license, or sell at your discretion.

We can help protect your property by analyzing its value, determining the appropriate protection, and submitting all documentation to the proper authorities to grant a patent, copyright, or trademark. Call a Boynton Beach intellectual property lawyer today to schedule your consultation with a member of the Lomnitzer Law team who understands how to protect your work from infringement.