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planningMATTERS • with pvw law

protecting

your rights

TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

What Is Intellectual Property? Intellectual property is a general term that refers to creations of the mind and human intelligence. The term intellectual property includes inventions, literary and artistic works, designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce. Intellectual property can be a manufacturing process, a book, a trade secret for a chemical formula, or plans for a product launch.

What is a Trademark and How Can I Protect It? Trademarks. A trademark is a recognizable sign, design or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. A trademark may be located on a package, label, a voucher, or on a product. Trademarks are used to identify names, brand, symbol, slogan, color, sound, and package design.

Intellectual property is intangible property subject to ownership and other rights pursuant to U.S. and state laws as well as most jurisdictions throughout the world. The types of intellectual property protected in the United States include patents, mask works, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. This article briefly covers trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.

Trademarks are secured by using the mark in commerce whether or not the mark is registered. Protection for unregistered marks are limited to the geographical area in which a mark is used. Trademarks eligible for protection can be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Such registration provides the owner of a mark significant protection.

mary e. vandenack

Copyrights. Copyright protection is given to the authors or original works of authorship. A copyright protects the form of expression of a creator against copying. Copyright protection is available for both published and unpublished works. Copyright categories include books and magazines; business plans and charts; software programs; websites; movies; music; drawings; graphic designs; paintings; sculpture; fashion’ architecture; and live performances. A copyright can be registered with the Copyright Office by filing an application, a copy of the work, and paying the registration fee. Ownership of a copyright is vested in the creator (or the employer in the case of work for hire) without registration; however registration may be helpful in pursuing claims of copyright infringement. Some authors decide against registering copyrights to avoid public disclosure of the work. For example, an author of source code may prefer not to register and instead seek protection as a trade secret. Trade Secrets. A trade secret is confidential business information which provides an enterprise a competitive edge. Examples include client lists, marketing plans, pricing structures, software source code, and chemical formulas. To qualify for trade secret protection, a trade secret must be secret and not generally known and have commercial value because the information is not generally known. In addition, the owner must take reasonable steps to keep the information secret. Trade secrets are generally protected without registration or procedural formalities. A trade secret owner obtains protections by making efforts to protect the secrecy of the information within the owner’s organization and with respect to third parties. Typical strategies to protect trade secrets include limiting the availability of information, and using written confidentiality agreements regarding the information. For more information visit www.pvwlaw.com 30

metroMAGAZINE • MAR 2014

metroMAGAZINE's May 2014 Issue  

metroMAGAZINE's May 2014 Issue is online now! metroMAGAZINE is published monthly by ALH Publications, serving the Omaha/Lincoln/Council Bluf...

metroMAGAZINE's May 2014 Issue  

metroMAGAZINE's May 2014 Issue is online now! metroMAGAZINE is published monthly by ALH Publications, serving the Omaha/Lincoln/Council Bluf...