What is intellectual property?
The term “intellectual property” refers to creations of the mind. This encompasses the results of creative and innovative endeavors — things that people create or invent. Generally, it includes patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secret rights. Just as other forms of property, intellectual property can be owned, sold, transferred, leased, or given away.
What is a patent?
A patent is issued by the federal government and confers a right or title to an invention for a set period of time. It is an exclusive right given by law to inventors to make use of and exploit their inventions. A patent also stops others from making, using, or selling the invention that is the subject of the patent.
A Virginia intellectual property attorney can explain the importance of securing a patent, and an attorney licensed before the patent bar can guide you through the process of doing so. Additionally, an intellectual property attorney can help you protect your patent and take action against any patent infringement.
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of those things, that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from the goods of another. Simply put, a trademark or servicemark is a “thing” that helps a consumer distinguish between one company’s products and another’s.
A Virginia intellectual property attorney can explain the significance of an established trademark and help protect your business from and take action against any trademark infringement.
What is a copyright?
A copyright protects the form of expression of a creator against any copying. Included within the protection of federal copyright law are literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. There are a variety of protections afforded under copyright law as well as different types of licenses that may be granted by the copyright owner.
A Virginia intellectual property attorney can explain the precise parameters of copyright law and how your work can be protected. Additionally, an experienced intellectual property attorney can represent you in defending your copyright against unlawful infringement.
What is a trade secret?
In broad terms, a trade secret can be any confidential business information that gives a business a competitive edge. A trade secret may consist of a formula, recipe, patterns, code, idea, customer list, process, or compilation of information.
Because of the extreme value that a trade secret has to its company, an experienced intellectual property attorney can guide your company through the process of securing, protecting, and defending its trade secrets.
How can I protect my business from intellectual property theft?
The first step is to identify your company’s intellectual property and make sure it is properly protected. The exact type of protection will be determined, of course, by the type of intellectual property. Whether you need to secure a patent, register a trademark, or obtain a copyright, an experienced intellectual property attorney can guide you through the process. Protecting trade secrets should also be an important concern to a business, and a Virginia intellectual property lawyer can advise you on how best to do this.