Intellectual property rights are rights in intangibles such as lyrics, writings, inventions, recipes and identifying marks. The holder of the rights can exclude others from using, selling or making the item that is the subject of the property right. Infringement of intellectual property involves a violation of the property holder’s rights. Philadelphia business lawyers at Harty Law Group have extensive experience in several areas of commercial litigation including litigation involving intellectual property infringement.
There are four broad categories of intellectual property rights that are recognized by law.
Patents give the inventor or owner of a patent a right to exclude others from making, selling and using the invention for a set period of time. In the U.S., the time period for this exclusive right is 20 years from the date of filing the application. The United States Patent and Trademark Office will examine a patent application and award a patent only if it is satisfied that the invention is new, useful, and nonobvious. The invention should not already exist, and it must serve a useful purpose and perform as intended. It should include an inventive step that is different from what is already available or known. Abstract ideas, laws of nature and physical phenomenon cannot be patented.
Copyrights protect an individual’s original works of authorship such as literary works, music compositions, dramatic works, artistic works, songs, novels, poems, films and computer software. Although registration of a work is not required to have a copyright, registration is recommended because it creates a public record and notice to others of the legal right to the work of authorship.
A symbol, mark, color, or design that identifies the source of goods or services is known as a trademark. Many commercial products known and used in today’s society are trademarks. Registering trademarks is recommended for the same reasons as registering copyrights.
Confidential business information, business and commercial secrets are trade secrets. For trade secrets to be protected, businesses must go to great lengths to keep the information secret and inaccessible. The secret must also be commercially valuable. Confidentiality agreements are the main legal tool used to protect trade secrets.
Infringement of intellectual property occurs when someone violates another’s intellectual property. For example, when someone starts to use a registered trademark without authorization from its owner, that individual is infringing on the trademark of the owner. Using someone’s music without a license is a copyright violation. The same is true for a patent; if another business entity starts making and selling a patented item, that business is infringing on the patent rights of its owner.
Protection of Intellectual Property Rights
The first step in protecting intellectual property rights is to register the invention, mark, or artistic work with the appropriate government agency. Registration creates proof of your invention, authorship, and usage of the mark.
Once the infringing party is discovered, the owner of the intellectual property right should send a cease and desist letter that notifies the other party to immediately stop its unauthorized use of the intellectual property. If the infringing party continues using and or selling the intellectual property, the owner has a right to initiate a civil lawsuit for the infringement.
Due to the increased competitive business market, many companies have turned to patent registration to protect their business interests. However, increased registration has also led to increased infringement claims and intellectual property litigation. A business entity’s most valuable assets are its intellectual property. Protecting its intellectual property from infringement should be of utmost priority.
Philadelphia Commercial Litigation Attorneys at Harty Law Group Successfully Resolve Infringement of Intellectual Property Claims
The Philadelphia commercial litigation attorneys at Harty Law Group have the knowledge and experience to protect your company from intellectual property infringement. Contact us online or call us today at 267-383-3899. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, allowing us to represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.