When dealing with intellectual property laws, the differences between different forms of intellectual property (IP) and the laws surrounding it can be confusing. There are, however, some easy ways to know whether you need to work with an intellectual property rights lawyer. How can you tell when you need to hire one of these attorneys dealing with intellectual property rights and laws? Here are some examples of times when you may need to contact a lawyer about patents, trademarks, and copyrights:
1. If you have an original creative work: If you have something you need copyrighted — like a book, short story, song, album, artwork, design, or even architectural plan — then you need to contact an intellectual property lawyer. This is especially important if you have had an instance where your work has been stolen, or if you have been contacted by another business about licensing, publishing, or other rights.
2. If you have an invention: There are several different kinds of patents, depending on what has been invented. For instance, a patent for a machine will be different than one for a plant. No matter which type of intellectual property rights you need to secure, it’s important to contact a lawyer who deals with IP. Unlike copyrighted work, which doesn’t need to be filed with the Copyright Office, but should be, inventions definitely should be patented with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to prevent infringement.
3. If you have a name for products or services you’d like to protect: In this case, you would need a trademark, which includes protection for a brand name or the name of a particular service or product that you offer. Note that trademarks can’t be offensive, and they also generally cannot be for widely used products or services. In other words, you won’t be able to get something like the word “pen” trademarked if you create a new type of writing utensil.
Have more questions about intellectual property protection? Be sure to speak with a lawyer. Because each case is unique, only your attorney will know how to consult you about your intellectual property and the protection it requires. You can also leave a comment below with any general inquiries.