Some laws within the entertainment industry are clear-cut and intuitive, making it easy for most people to avoid unintentionally violating them. Other laws are less straightforward, and may require the expertise of an attorney, like industry expert John Branca, to sort through, such as intellectual property violations.
What Is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property (IP) refers to intangible products or objects that cannot be copied or used without another’s permission. Intellectual property can include symbols, images, musical compositions, poems, inventions, patents, trademarks, and much more. IP is very important in all industries.
Are There Different Categories of Intellectual Property?
Yes, there are four main types of intellectual property, including trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.
Trademarks mostly serve as a way to protect logos and brands from having their company images stolen by another company. This also makes it illegal for another company to have an image or name that is too similar to the trademarked one. Trademarks require companies or individuals to file an application that goes through an approval process.
Copyrights are in effect the moment an author or artist creates a work, such as a writing, drawing, or something else. One can also file an application to register their work federally. If you don’t copyright your work, it is very hard to prove that it is your IP. This is especially true in the digital age where everything can be easily copied, pasted, edited, or plagiarized.
Patents work to protect inventions, ideas, or processes, and a person who creates these works must file a patent application. This allows the government to check to see if such a work has already been patented, and they are valid for at least 17 years. Getting a patent can be a lengthy, complex, and expensive process for most people and companies. It helps to have experts on your side if it is actually worth the costs and efforts to get patents.
Finally, trade secrets are just as mysterious as they sound. They consist of private information that helps an individual have an advantage over the competition. This is a less common form of intellectual property, but it has served important purposes for many individuals and companies over the years.
What if Someone Steals One of My Ideas?
If you believe that someone has stolen your intellectual property, whether it is a written work, song, invention, or anything else, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced lawyer. If someone steals your ideas, you may be entitled to compensation that can begin to remedy the situation.
Some intellectual property disputes end up being genuine coincidences or misunderstandings, but other violations are done with more malicious intent. Working with a lawyer can help you determine if you have enough evidence to build an intellectual property violation case, and whether you can get the desired results.
IP In Conclusion
Although defining intellectual property can be a bit tricky, it is an important concept to understand to prevent legal headaches. And you don’t have to go it alone with it comes to IP. Hiring the right IP lawyer is the smartest way to protect your valuable intellectual property from being infringed upon.