Human innovation has permanently moved us forward with scientific, technological, artistic, and engineering marvels. Unique creations deserve to be protected as the product of the inventor. In the United States, that right has been in force since the drafters of the U.S. Constitution gave the federal government the power to oversee intellectual property.
Today, authors, scientists, musicians, and investors still have exclusive rights to their creations if they protect them through patents, copyrights, or trademarks. If you have a unique creation but are unsure how to protect it, Lomnitzer Law can help. A Fort Lauderdale intellectual property lawyer could discuss how to protect your artistic endeavor, tech innovation, or any invention you have conceived and want to bring to the marketplace.
Intellectual property is an umbrella term for patents, trademarks, and copyrights, protecting different aspects of unique ideas and artistic expressions. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) oversees granting and managing patents and trademarks, while the United States Copyright Office (USCO) handles copyrights.
Patents protect inventors’ work when others try to copy and sell an identical item, sometimes of lesser quality. Inventors own the rights to their work for up to 20 years but can transfer these rights. However, patents are not granted unconditionally. If the USPTO decides a product is useless, not unique, or offensive on moral grounds, it will deny protection.
Patents are separated into three types: utility, design, and plant. Utility patents protect specific functions by an item with moving parts (such as computers), manufactured items for a particular function (for example, curtain rings), processes (such as software), and compositions of a finished product (like pharmaceuticals).
Trademarks are usually used in product development and marketing, by branding competitive products that consumers recognize by trademarked names, slogans, or design marks like Nike’s swish symbol. Trademarks offer different levels of protection depending on public awareness of the mark. A business should register them to take advantage of indefinite protection and keep competitors from introducing duplicate marks to confuse consumers.
Copyrights protect artistic expressions, including literature, movies, and songs. With copyright, artists can display or perform their work and license others to use it. Copyrights generally last the owner’s lifetime plus 70 years. An intellectual property attorney guides inventors and artists in Fort Lauderdale through the registration process of their particular work.
Some ancillary issues can arise concerning intellectual property. Along with filing registrations and necessary accompanying paperwork for patents, copyrights, and trademarks, an intellectual property attorney could:
Registered products often feature patent numbers, a copyright mark, or the trademark symbol to let consumers and competitors know the work is protected. Inventors and artists should not risk losing their unique work to unlawful copycats by foregoing registration. Consult an intellectual property attorney in Fort Lauderdale to register unique work.
With the growing movement toward globalization, many countries saw a need to protect intellectual property beyond their borders, which led to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994. GATT enacted international criminal penalties in response to a proliferation of counterfeit goods that violated trademark and copyright laws, largely for luxury goods such as handbags and movies that were copied elsewhere and distributed in the U.S. If an IP violation involves non-American parties, a lawyer could advise someone on what their next streps should be.
Creative minds are always adding art, inventions, and commercial assets into the world. Fortunately, the federal government knows to protect invention and creation so that ideas could be shared and creators be rewarded. At Lomnitzer Law, we ensure you are positioned to do both.
If you have invented a unique product, written a book or song, or developed new software, contact us to protect it. A Fort Lauderdale intellectual property lawyer could guide you through the registration of your work and help you protect it from others.