The Basics Of Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is a complicated aspect of law, to be sure. It encompasses, among other things, copyrights and trademarks, and is intended to protect a variety of “creations of the brain.”

Copyright does not protect ideas, rather, but original literary and artistic works, musical pieces, discoveries, inventions, logos, designs, architectural creations, photographs and the like. The term “intellectual property” wasn’t used until the 1800s, though the foundation for the legal protection of intellectual property began centuries ago.

Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the copyright holder the right to the reproduction of his or her work, to distribute copies or recordings for sale to the public, to perform or display the work publicly and to take other similar actions. The law also details “fair use,” which allows the use of copyrighted material for news reporting, criticism and other special cases.

Intellectual property also includes trademarks. Trademarks are protected by a sign or other indicator that can help distinguish one service-provider or goods manufacturer from another. The sign or indicator can include one or more of the following: a logo, a word or phrase and images. They are protected by the Trademark Act of 1946.

A trademark is essential because it serves to identify a particular business as the source of the service or goods. Registration of a trademark provides federal protection and a bundle of rights; however, use alone can establish common law rights. Those who infringe upon these rights can be subject to penalties.

Trademarks are registered in most countries and are also classified by the International (Nice) Classification of Goods and Services into 45 Trademark Classes. Numbers 1 to 34 concern goods, while numbers 35 to 45 concern services. For a trademark to be registered, it has to be original and cannot be deceptive or similar to trademarks that have already been registered.

Copyrights and trademarks are an essential part of many businesses. And in today’s world, when the rights of creators are being threatened by so many advances in technology, it is important to protect your creations.

If you are looking to file copyright or trademark papers, or believe that someone else has stolen your work or trademark, it is essential that you hire an experienced attorney.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, November 18th, 2010 at 5:35 pm and is filed under Business & Corporate Law, Intellectual Property. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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