Los Angeles Business Attorney Reveals Myths Regarding Intellectual Property

For many people, intellectual property is a somewhat difficult concept to understand, those things that are “untouchable,” so to speak.  Creations of the mind, intellectual property refers to things such as logos, images, symbols, artistic or literary works and other property typically meant to be used in commerce.  How do you legally protect those things that are more of an idea, rather than physical property?  Trademarks, copyrights, and patents are some of the ways people and businesses protect their intellectual property.  However, there are some myths that can actually hurt you, including the following:

Using someone else’s trademarked brand.  Just because you offer a product or service that is different in some way from another company who has a trademark does not mean you can use that company’s trademarked brand.  Say for example you decide to open a health supplements store called New Balance, and because you don’t sell shoes you assume you are not infringing on the shoe manufacturer’s trademark.  This could be a sticky issue and cause confusion among consumers.  Best to speak with a trademark attorney before jumping to conclusions.

Using a design you paid for in any way you see fit.  Many people pay others to design things for their business, such as a book cover if you are an author, or a business website.  Does it give you free reign to use the design however you like, because you paid for it?  Not necessarily.  Even if you paid $8,000 to have your website designed or $3,000 for a book cover design, you are not the owner of the work without a written “work for hire” agreement.  In order to own any material that is copyrighted so that you can use it any way you desire, have a lawyer draw up a work for hire agreement that contains specific language which is legally binding.

If you alter another person’s creative work substantially, you can sell or distribute your version of the work without infringing on the original artist’s copyright.  Not necessarily!  Copyright infringement is measured by substantial similarity.  Several specific considerations are used in determining whether the average person would find your version and the original creative work substantially similar.  Again, consult with a skilled Los Angeles copyright attorney when you want to use someone else’s creation to build on.

Intellectual property is a someone “sticky” area, so when in doubt it’s always best to seek out the guidance of one of our highly experienced Los Angeles business attorneys at the Law Offices of Spotora & Associates.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 27th, 2013 at 12:22 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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