Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property encompasses the five ways to protect the property of the mind: patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and Industrial design rights. Intellectual property law protects the majority of all creative works including literature, music, inventions, and art. Governed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, intellectual property protects people’s original, intangible works and allows them to profit from these ideas for a certain amount of time.

This body of law grants a form of limited monopoly to an inventor as an economic incentive to develop and share ideas to the rest of the world. This limited monopoly may last for many years, and the owner of the intellectual property will also control the right to license, sell, reproduce, or adapt the work. New product inventions, movies, books, articles, songs, albums, paintings, sculptures, software, brand names, and many other intangible ideas are under the legal umbrella of intellectual property protection.

The most common forms of intellectual property are copyrights and trademarks. Copyright applies to any expressible form of a substantive idea that is fixed in a tangible medium. Books, news articles, letters, websites, and the like are all considered copyrights, and the author or creator of an original work has the exclusive right to publicize, distribute, and adapt that work for a limited period of time. Trademarks protect product’s names, logos, symbols, design, image, or other combination of these sorts of elements. A trademark is considered a distinctive sign or used by a legal entity to uniquely identify that the object originates from a particular source. Most companies trademark their corporate logos and names of their products to deny others from copying their precious ideas.

Patents provide inventors the right to exclude others from copying their inventions. Patents promote inventors to share their inventions with the general public in return for an exclusive, limited period of time to profit from their invention. Trade secrets, unlike other intellectual property, do not have to be revealed to the world. Trade Secrets include formulas, processes, customer lists, strategic patterns or plans, or compilation of information that is not generally known or reasonably ascertainable, by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers. Finally, Industrial design right rights that protect the visual design or look of objects or businesses that are not purely utilitarian. The design of a Coke bottle is a good example of an industrial design that cannot be copied without the owner’s consent.

Considering the different forms of intellectual property, many disputes may arise among many different parties. Many companies vehemently protect their trademarks while potentially stepping over their legal bounds. Bootlegging is becoming more common everyday, and intellectual property owners are beginning to use all legal means necessary to protect their designs, brand names, and ideas. Certain authors may feel that other writers are stealing their ideas and writing styles. Inventors are constantly trying to protect their patents from unpermitted copying. The list of disputes continues to grow everyday, and many companies and individuals are spending more and more “good” dollars to stop this evil intellectual property damage.

Our mediators have many years of experience practicing in the intellectual property law field. Actually, most of our mediators own trademarks and copyrights so we are probably personally familiar with your type of dispute. We believe mediation is the perfect tool to quickly and efficiently solve your intellectual property disputes without spending a ton of money in litigation. Whether it is a trademark infringement situation, a copyright dispute, a trade dress argument, violation of a trade secret, or a patent infringement case, you should strongly consider hiring one of our mediators to sit down with both sides and “invent” a productive resolution.