Overview of Types of IP Protection Available
A patent is a property right granted by a government to an inventor to exclude others from making, using, importing or selling an invention in a particular country for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.Â In the United States, the exclusive rights conferred by a patent typically last no longer than 20 years from the date of filing.
The process of obtaining a patent is generally adversarial in nature.Â A government employee is charged with performing a search of existing technology and entering rejections based on the results of the search, procedural issues and matters as to form.Â Your patent attorney responds to communications from the examiner and enters arguments to overcome any rejections.
Convincing and successful argument is generally only possible if your attorney is technically competent to discuss each issue arising in patent prosecution.Â At The Noblitt Group, we only employ professionals with the highest technical and legal qualifications.Â Our firm comprises registered patent attorneys, foreign associates, patent agents and technical consultants – many holding doctorates and other advanced degrees in various fields of engineering, as well as in biotechnology, electronics, software, chemistry and other important areas.Â This depth of education and experience enables our firm to analyze technical and legal issues efficiently and to successfully present the most persuasive arguments on behalf of our clients.
A trademark is a property right granted by a government to protect words, names, symbols, sounds or colors that distinguish products and services.Â Unlike patents, trademarks may be continuously renewed as long as they are used in business.Â The Noblitt Group’s trademark practice provides a complete range of services for domestic and international clients.
The process for registering a trademark is generally adversarial in nature.Â A government employee is charged with performing a search of existing trade designations and entering rejections based on the results of the search, procedural issues and matters as to form.Â Your trademark attorney responds to communications from the examiner and enters arguments to overcome any rejections.
Convincing and successful argument is generally only possible if your attorney is technically competent to discuss each issue arising in trademark prosecution.Â Our trademark attorneys have extensive experience and considerable international resources to efficiently and successfully handle all trademark related matters, from prosecuting applications to litigation support.
A copyright is a property right that protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed.Â In the United States, The Library of Congress registers copyrights which last for the life of the author plus 70 years.Â The Noblitt Group copyright practice provides a complete range of services for domestic and international clients.
The process of obtaining a registered copyright is generally procedural in nature.Â Upon payment of a fee, a government agency is charged with registration.
The Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984 introduced a copyright-like form of protection for maskworks not otherwise protectable by patents or traditional copyrights.Â Our firm possesses unique expertise in this area with considerable international resources to successfully and efficiently handle all copyright related matters, from registration to litigation support.
A trade secret is proprietary knowledge that is kept secret from the public and competitors.Â Trade secrets are generally protected under state unfair competition laws.Â Unlike patents, trademarks, and copyrights, a trade secret may be protected for as long as the information is kept secret.Â However, information that is kept as a trade secret is not protected if the information is independently discovered or created.Â A trade secret may include inventions, chemical compounds/formulas, business or manufacturing methods, compositions of data, devices, machinery, and/or software.Â To maintain the proprietary information as a trade secret, a business must take reasonably diligent steps to protect the information from disclosure to the public and competitors.
The process of obtaining a trade secret is automatic based upon the actions taken to protect the information.
A contract is an agreement between parties which gives one party the right to pursue damages if the other party violates the agreement.Â Intellectual property contracts typically come in the form of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
Compared with patents, the requirements for a utility model are more flexible and therefore generally easier to satisfy.Â The term of protection is shorter than that of a patent and varies from country to country – up to a maximum of 10 years.Â Utility models are generally territorial rights and therefore the protection is limited to the state for which the protection is granted.Â Utility models are not available in the United States.
Not all types of invention may be placed under the protection of a utility model.Â In Europe, for example, inventions in the field of microorganisms are only patentable, however program logic on which programs for data processing systems are based may be protected by utility models, but not by patents.
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