Arizona Intellectual Property Attorneys Protect Your Company’s Rights
Trustworthy Phoenix lawyers helps businesses protect patents, trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property.
Intellectual property is now the most valuable assets of most businesses. Gone are the days we focused on furniture, fixtures and equipment. If you are an inventor and you’re wondering how to protect your intellectual property and bring the product to market or you are a business owner and you want to secure your rights to “work for hire,” the Law Offices of Donald W. Hudspeth P.C. in Phoenix can help. Our knowledgeable intellectual property attorneys can explain the ways to protect your intellectual property, represent you throughout the application process, and even take effective steps to protect your international rights. We are also skilled litigation attorneys who can assert your rights against challenge or infringement. When you choose our law firm to secure your business IP, you get a team of experienced professionals ready to pursue every advantage under the law.
What is patentable under U.S. law?
Before you apply for a patent, you must be sure your invention meets the requirements for being “patentable.” This means your invention is:
- Subject matter–eligible — The Patent Act lists four types of inventions that are patentable: processes, machines, articles of manufacture and compositions of matter. While this might seem all-encompassing, this list excludes natural phenomena, abstract ideas and laws of nature.
- New — You cannot patent an invention that is known to the public prior to the application. So, if you’ve been selling an invention for a period of time without having applied for a patent, your application will likely be denied. The novelty requirement can also exclude inventions if they’ve appeared in publications prior to the application. However, there is a grace period of one year following a disclosure, allowing an inventor to apply for a patent.
- Useful — The invention must have a practical utility.
- Nonobvious — The invention cannot simply be the next logical step in refining an existing process, machine, article of manufacture or composition of matter. Therefore, if an average person skilled in a particular art related to the invention would have hit upon the invention, a court could rule it is not patentable.
U.S. law recognizes three types of patents:
- Utility — This patent protects the functional elements of an invention. It grants exclusive rights to the inventor for 20 years.
- Design — This patent protects the aesthetic appearance of an invention and lasts for 14 years.
- Plant — This patents protects the rights to plants that are asexually reproduced and lasts for 14 years.
It bears noting that an invention could be an improvement to an existing invention provided the improvement meets the requirements above.
Knowledgeable assistance in developing a comprehensive patent strategy
Although a U.S. patent confers a number of advantages, there are risks to pursuing a patent: you must publicly reveal your invention and allow others to challenge its patentability. You must pay fees to file your application and may incur additional legal expenses if someone challenges your application. If you succeed in getting a patent, you have a limited number of years before the patent expires and your invention goes into the public domain.
For these reasons and more, our Phoenix business lawyers help clients develop a comprehensive intellectual property strategy. We discuss the efficacy of applying for a patent versus holding the invention as a trade secret as well as the benefits of registered trademarks. We explain how businesses can secure the rights to inventions developed by employees during their tenure with the company, so those inventions become company-owned intellectual property assets. We perform searches with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to discover potential conflicts with your application. We offer assessments on whether to pursue global protection or take a U.S.-only approach. Finally, we develop a litigation strategy for dealing with potential conflicts. Our paramount goal is to provide sound legal guidance based on reliable analysis of all pertinent facts so you can make the best decision for your business.
Trademark attorneys in Phoenix provide reliable advice for your brands
In the internet world it is important to register your company name when you form your corporation or LLC. The reason for this is twofold: First, if you don’t have it, someone else may already have it or will get it. In that case you face a cease and desist demand or litigation and the loss of your goodwill. Second, today much of the value of an owner operated business comes from its “brand,” name recognition, and attendant business and good will. If you sell your business as an asset sale there will be a line for your name and its value. It is not unusual for the name alone to be worth $35,000 in an average sized business. Thus, there is a substantial return on investment for a registered trademark.
Once the trademark, name or logo or both, is filed it is important to be “firstest with the mostest” in your marketing. A patented product can be reverse engineered, a copyrighted work may be varied and used, but once established the trademark establishes and differentiates the product in the marketplace. Others may have a better product. But if we don’t know that product, usually we buy what we recognize. The objective then is for the customer to know your brand.
Copyright attorneys in Phoenix provide reliable advice for creators and businesses
Copyright is an important legal issue for creators of original works and businesses that use created content, especially in their website advertising. A less well-known fact is that a primary method of protecting software as intellectual property is the copyright.
At Law Offices of Donald W. Hudspeth P.C., our Phoenix business attorneys are well-versed in intellectual property law and are ready to assist you in all matters related to copyright. If you are a creator seeking to secure your exclusive right to monetize your work, or you are a business owner hoping to avoid disputes over your use of original material, our Phoenix law firm provides the trustworthy guidance you need. Drawing on decades of experience, we offer sound legal advice and determined representation whenever disputes arise.
A copyright is an exclusive ownership of an original work, which means only the copyright holder can reproduce, sell, lease or display the work, or create derivative works from the original. Copyright pertains to a wide variety of created material, including:
- ♦ Writings, including proprietary software
- ♦ Visual arts, such as drawings, paintings and photography
- ♦ Music, written and recorded
- ♦ Video and motion picture images
- ♦ Choreography
Copyright in the United States lasts for the life of the author plus 75 years. Copyright is separate from the work, so a creator can sell an original work but retain the right to reproduce copies. Copyright is transferable, so the creator can sell the copyright along with the work. But if the creator does transfer the copyright, he or she can reclaim the copyright after 35 years, under most circumstances.
Copyright is automatic: legal protection exists the moment the creator takes an idea and renders it in a tangible form. However, a creator who registers the work with the U.S. Copyright Office has far greater protection. If someone uses an original work without the copyright holder’s permission, the copyright owner can sue for infringement. The owner of a registered copyright can sue for statutory damages, but the owner of an unregistered work must prove actual damages to recover compensation for the infringement.
If you are a creator, the intellectual property lawyers at our Phoenix law firm can help you with the registration process. We can also negotiate licensing agreements to help you monetize your work. Finally, if someone infringes your work, we can take aggressive steps to end the unauthorized use and recover compensation for the harm you’ve suffered.
Many businesses rely on content marketing to boost their profile, especially on the internet. But when using created content for your website, you have to be careful not to infringe a creator’s copyright. To avoid liability, there are certain protocols you must follow:
- Don’t download images from the internet — Just because an image is on the web without attribution doesn’t mean it’s not copyrighted. To protect yourself, you should use images from licensing services or from free sources that don’t require permission. But beware: free services often have conditions attached that you must follow.
- Work-for-hire agreements — If you have someone creating original material for your business, make sure that your contract gives you the copyright both as work-for-hire and in any case by assignment.
- Get warranties from content providers — If you are hiring a contractor to provide original content for your business, execute an agreement wherein the provider warrants the material is original and accepts responsibility for any copyright infringement that results.
- Know your copyright exceptions — There are circumstances under which you can use copyrighted material without permission without infringing the owner’s rights. These generally apply to reporting and teaching. But don’t assume your use falls into an exception; get reliable advice before acting.
If you have any questions about your use of original content for your business, a Phoenix business lawyer at our firm can provide the reliable answers you need.
Contact our knowledgeable Arizona business lawyers for intellectual property services in Phoenix
At Law Offices of Donald W. Hudspeth P.C., we understand the importance to your business of having and protecting intellectual property. To learn how our knowledgeable Phoenix attorneys can help secure your company’s intellectual property rights, call us at 866-696-2033 or contact us online today.