Know Your Intellectual Property Options
There are many misconceptions about how intellectual property protection works. However, many entrepreneurs and businesses cannot afford a crucial misstep. When you know how to fully protect your unique assets, you can prevent competitors from taking advantage of them.
Codispoti & Associates, P.C., provides experienced counsel regarding intellectual property protection. Based in New York, we can clarify complex legal matters to enable you to preserve ownership and control of your assets.
Trademarks Identify And Distinguish Your Work
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design that distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. Logos are a commonly trademarked asset, for example. You can apply for federal and state trademarks. In New York, trademark registration can last for 10 years plus any renewal periods.
However, there are two forms of fair use that may allow another party to use a trademark:
- Classic fair use: The defendant used the plaintiff’s mark to describe the defendant’s product or service, but the mark is descriptive in nature.
- Nominative fair use: The defendant used the plaintiff’s mark to signify the plaintiff’s own product or service, potentially in comparison to the defendant’s offerings.
Because the main purpose of trademark law is to prevent consumer confusion, a trademark can last forever. However, the trademark belongs to the party that first uses it – not necessarily the party that registers it.
Patents Preserve Inventions
If you have a novel invention, you can work with your lawyer to file a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Through public disclosure of the invention, you may gain protection for a limited duration.
While we are well-versed in intellectual property matters, we are not registered patent attorneys. However, we work with outside counsel composed of registered patent attorneys to meet copyright needs.
How To Gain Copyright Protection
Copyright laws apply to original works of authorship, regardless of whether the work is published, such as:
- Music and choreography
- Literature, including poetry, novels and short stories
- Dramatic work, including theater scripts, movies and musicals
- Artistic work, including both traditional and digital media
- Computer software
It is important to note that copyright law does not protect ideas alone. The idea may be the first step in the creation of a protectable work of authorship, but the work itself is what gains protection. Therefore, you cannot gain exclusive rights of your idea until you create a work to embody it – even if you do not formally publish that work.
Enforcing Protections Or Defending Against Infringement
Intellectual property infringement lawsuits usually depend on several factors, including:
- Proof of ownership of the intellectual property
- The validity of any outstanding protections, such as a patent
- Proof of direct or indirect trade secret theft, copyright infringement or another violation
- Whether the use involved authorization, independent original creation or fair use
These cases frequently involve a smaller entity or individual taking on a large corporation. The defendant often has extensive resources at their disposal, while plaintiffs may lack the resources to keep up. Regardless of your market power, our attorneys are determined to fortify your position through assertive advocacy.
Review Your Intellectual Property Protection Options
It can be difficult to determine whether your assets already have protection through the law or you need to take action to gain protection. Our experienced attorneys are ready to advise you, and we offer counsel in both English and Italian. Call 212-791-9453 or complete our intake form to schedule a consultation.