Intellectual Property Protection: Legal Right ProtectionWritten by Margaret Wommack
Intellectual property, although intangible, is still ownable and your intellectual property rights should be protected. Modern business, especially since rise of internet has seen a rise in creation of intellectual property. However internet makes it even easier for someone to steal your ideas and work. An intellectual property lawyer who is trained to help reclaim patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret rights can help protect your intellectual property.
Types of intellectual property include patents, trademarks and trade dress, copyrights, and trade secrets.
A patent is granted by government allowing a (usually) 20 year monopoly on an invention previously “not generally known.” Patents are intended to encourage investment in research and development. If you create a new useful process for doing something, a machine, manufacture, or even an improvement on something already in existence, you can patent your invention and prohibit others from “making, using, offering for sale, or selling…or importing” invention in U.S. Your right to patent your invention is a constitutional right (Article I, section 8). Patents are subdivided into three groups: design, utility, and plant. Design patents protect innovations in appearance (although not structure or function) of an item. Utility patents are for wholly new inventions including machines, industrial processes, compositions of matter, and articles of manufacture. Plant patents cover innovations in plant-life, such as new species of plant created from reproduction of cuttings and grafts of existing plants.
Patent lawyers will research previously granted patents for you to see if a similar product has already been patented or whether you should apply for a patent for your invention. A patent attorney will also tell you if your idea is not patentable because it is a law of nature, a physical phenomena, or abstract. You should find a specialized patent or intellectual property attorney because in order to prosecute a client’s patent application, he or she must be registered with U.S. patent office. A patent lawyer will also have to have passed a science and engineering exam to better understand and serve clients.
Trademarks are granted for words, names, symbols, or devices which separate and distinguish businesses and services. These include arbitrary names such as Kodak, suggestive names such as Caterpillar (tractors), descriptive names which indicated business’ products or services, and generic names which are descriptive. Generic and some descriptive names cannot be protected, so a trademark or intellectual property lawyer should be consulted to see if your name qualifies for trademark rights. You can also file an intent-to-use application to reserve a name that will later be trademarked. (This is especially important with expansion of business on internet.)
Class Action LawsuitsWritten by Margaret Wommack
A class action is a civil lawsuit filed by multiple people who experienced same injury from same product, a single trial to hear all claims. The difference between their cases as individuals is only extent to which each was injured. For instance, one anti-inflammatory medication user who developed SJS may have associated rash while another may have lung damage and blindness as well. Often when a party was injured by a product but they do not have a strong enough case to file an individual lawsuit against company, they can band together with others who suffered injury from same product to make their case stronger by numbers.
Another benefit of class action lawsuits is pursuing a suit for only small losses. For example, $100 spent on a product that doesn’t work or spent to correct problems product causes is a mall amount of money and does not justify expense and time of filing a lawsuit. However, many people who have all lost $100 can band together and file a class action suit, splitting amongst them cost of lawyer fees and filing suit, and can hope for a settlement to be reached. If not for class action suits, that $100 lost, small in court’s eyes but substantial to individual, could never be recovered and company responsible for faulty product would never have to reform. Class action lawsuits are most often for defective products, asbestos, prescription drug side effects or tobacco. If your case involves people across state borders then you may file a Federal class action. These suits are much more complicated and require a good, experienced lawyer.