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February 2015 Archives

Patent: First to File

When it comes to claiming rights over patentable technology, the United States recently joined the rest of the world in adopting a "first to file" system. This change, part of the sweeping America Invents Act ("AIA"), went into effect March 16, 2013. As many have noted, the law significantly impacted the way intellectual property is protected. Under the new system, even if an inventor is the first to invent something, she must quickly file a patent application on her invention before anyone else files or could lose out to an inventor who thought of the idea after her, but filed before her. Thus, the new federal legislation creates a risk for those who are silent or secretive about their invention-and encourages inventors not to sit on their rights.

What is a Copyright?

A copyright is a type of legal protection, under federal law, for authors of "original works of authorship," meaning literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual works. A work need not be published to be protected - an experienced intellectual property attorney can explain this distinction in further detail. The law authorizes a copyright owner to do things such as reproduce his or her work; sell or rent it; or perform the work publicly (such as by releasing songs).

So You're Starting a Food Truck: How Do You Protect Your Intellectual Property?

There you are, finally rolling the dice and pursuing your culinary aspirations. You are starting your own food truck business. You have your unique concept, you have a potential catchy name and logo, you have a secret sauce that you believe consumers will eat even if it is served on plywood, you bought your food truck, you just launched your website, and you are all over social media. Then it dawns on you that you failed to take any steps to protect your company's intellectual property rights. This article briefly outlines the steps that you can take to protect your intellectual property rights while also making sure you are not infringing on someone else's.

Protecting Your Patent Portfolio

Your business's patent portfolio, or the list of patents owned by your company, contains the fruits of your labor, so to speak. Managing your patent portfolio and comparing it to those of other companies is essential to helping you better determine the economic value of your own patents and maintaining your competitive edge in the marketplace. It also helps you keep an eye on potential copycats, which can be an irksome and costly issue to deal with.

The Basics of Trademark Litigation

If you are like many business owners, you take pride in the name of your business and/or product, which are likely the result of hard work and substantial investment, of both the financial and time variety. Hopefully you have worked with anexperienced Orange County trademark lawyer to protect these forms of intellectual property as too often, competitors try to capitalize on a business's success or reputation by using the same or a similar name for comparable businesses and products, often harming your business in the process. If this is happening to you, what can you do to protect your business's good name?

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a brand name: a word, phrase, design, sound, or symbol. For example, the designs of the "golden arches" associated with McDonald's fast food restaurants and the Nike "swoosh" are trademarks. This form of intellectual property is significant because the public learns to identify or rely on certain marks to represent a level of quality related to the products or services it purchases. In a sense, trademarks provide reassurance to the public that what they purchase will be of the same quality as other items of that mark.

How Do I Obtain a Patent?

While "intellectual property" may sound like a complicated area of the law, its basic principles are simple: at its core, intellectual property law is about who owns property that is the result of mental efforts. The owner of this type of property has rights based on federal laws concerning patents, trademarks, and copyrights, as well as state laws concerning trade secrets.