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Intellectual Property

Our legal system provides certain rights and protections for owners of property. The kind of property that results from the fruits of mental labor is called intellectual property. Rights and protections for owners of intellectual property are based on federal patent, trademark and copyright laws and state trade secret laws. In general, patents protect inventions of tangible things; copyrights protect various forms of written and artistic expression; and trademarks protect a name or symbol that identifies the source of goods or services.

Intellectual property law is designed to protect these "creations of the mind," such as inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. Intellectual property is generally divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs.

Another area of Intellectual Property are Patents. A patent is a document, issued by the federal government, that grants to its owner a legally enforceable right to exclude others from practicing the invention described and claimed in the document. Congress allows this right, for a term ending twenty years from the date of filing of an application for patent, to encourage the public disclosure of technical advances and as an incentive for investing in their commercialization. Thus, the overall progress of technical innovation is favored, while at the same time inventors are rewarded for their specific contributions. Like other forms of property, the rights symbolized by a patent can be inherited, sold, rented, mortgaged and even taxed. When a patent expires, or is held invalid, the right to exclude the others ceases. The public is the ultimate beneficiary of the technical advance.

If you have any questions regarding intellectual property, please feel free to take advantage of the FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION offered by our firm so that you may make an informed decision regarding your future.

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