In the digital, technologically advanced age that we live in, everyone and everything seems to be connected, or have the ability to be accessible to countless numbers of people. This shrinking of our globe has led to plenty of positive advancements for us as a species, but it also creates its own issues. With all of this relatively new access, the potential to collaborate and get great minds together on a project has grown. But the opportunities for less than honest individuals to hone in on chances to make a quick buck without putting in the work. For this reason, there are laws in place to protect the work of an individual, group, or business. And sometimes the expertise of patent lawyers is necessary.
Patent lawyers providing property protection
There are any number of reason why you may need to employ the help of a team of good patent lawyers or trademark attorney services. It can be difficult to protect and understand the boundaries of an idea, so sometimes it falls to the patent lawyers, copyright attorneys, and judges in a courtroom to determine if someone’s rights have been violated or infringed upon. According to the United States Chamber of Commerce Intellectual Property Center, there is an estimated $5 trillion to $5.5 trillion worth of intellectual property in the U.S. That means that there are a lot of ideas, designs, prototypes, outlines, and blueprints that need to be protected and kept track of.
Understanding the terms
The concept of protecting and owning intellectual property can be a tough one to grasp. There are a few different terms that can often be confused in the world of intellectual property law and rights, and protecting and understanding these rights begins with knowing the difference between those terms.
A patent protects an invention, whether it is a machine, a manufactured item, a chemical composition, or an industrial process. There are two types of patents: design and utility. A design patent usually lasts for 20 years and is meant to protect the way an item looks. A utility patent is in place to protect how something works or is used, and it lasts for 14 to 15 years, depending on the date of issuance.
A trademark distinguishes the goods of one company or brand from those of another by way of a symbol or design or even a word or phrase. Sometimes trademark is used as a blanket term for both trademarks and service marks, which use that identifying mark to protect a service rather than a product. Trademarks do not expire.
A copyright refers to authorship of works such as books, music, dramatic productions in cinema or for the stage, and even things like architecture and computer software. The rights remain with the author for a limited amount of time. For things that were created after 1977, those rights stay with the known author until 70 years after his or her death.
It is natural to want to be recognized for the work that you contribute to the world, and the intellectual property laws in place are meant to protect those rights that you do have as the creator or contributor. It is easy for some people to imagine the hard work that goes into a complex, physical object that they can see and touch, but hard work also goes into abstract ideas and concepts, and the finished products that result from that work need to be protected just as much as the tangible results.