Fort Smith, AR Intellectual Property Lawyer

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Every person or entity should be invested in the protection of their intellectual property. Failure to preserve intellectual property can affect various aspects of a business. Fortunately, the creator of intellectual property has various rights against the misuse of their creations. If you need assistance managing your intellectual property, contact an experienced Fort Smith intellectual property lawyer today.

At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, we are ready to provide you with the legal representation that you deserve to help protect your intellectual property interests. Our firm has worked with residents of Fort Smith on a number of intellectual property claims, and we would be honored to represent you. To schedule a confidential legal consultation, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at (479) 439-9840. You can also use our online submission form to contact us.

4 Types of Intellectual Property in Fort Smith, AR

Intellectual property is an original creation by an individual or entity that can be protected from unauthorized use by other parties. Generally, there are four types of intellectual property that can be protected. While a creator will receive some protections from simply creating intellectual property, it would be wise to consider registering intellectual property in Fort Smith to have access to widespread legal protection.

Copyrights

Copyrights are a form of intellectual property that is used to protect an “original work of authorship.” An original work of authorship can include:

  • Novels and other written works
  • Paintings, sculptures, and other forms of art
  • Musical compositions
  • Computer software

A copyright becomes protected from the moment that a creator affixes their idea in a tangible medium. For example, if you have an idea to write a novel, your novel will be protected once you begin to write it down or record it in some other form.

As mentioned, a creator will have limited protections for a copyright once they place their work in a tangible form. However, a creator would receive increased protection by registering their original work with the U.S. Copyright Office. A creator that registers their work will be able to collect damages, injunctions, and other remedies when their work is infringed upon. For example, a copyright holder may successfully prevent the importation of other products that infringe on their copyright.

Note, however, that copyrights cannot be used to protect ideas. If an idea is not translated into a tangible medium, it cannot be copyrighted.

Patents

A patent is needed in order to protect original inventions or original processes for performing a specific task. There are three types of patents that an inventor can register:

  • Utility Patents – A utility patent is awarded to an inventor that creates a novel manufacturing process. This can include new matter compositions or a new form of technology.
  • Design Patents – Design patents are awarded to those that create a novel device or a new alteration to an old invention.
  • Plant Patents – Plant patents are granted to inventors that discover or invent a new form of plant life.

Unlike copyrights, obtaining a patent requires an extensive registration process. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office must look at a number of factors to determine whether your invention is truly novel. However, once a patent is awarded, a patent holder will be able to license the use of their invention to people and entities.

Trademarks

Trademarks are used to prevent unauthorized use of specific phrases, sounds, names, and even color schemes. For example, the name of a business may be considered a trademark (e.g., McDonald’s, Burger King).

The purpose of a trademark is to denote a specific line of goods or services. If two trademarks are remarkably similar, there could be a danger that the general public will be confused about the owner of each product. For example, if two Italian restaurants share the same name while being in close proximity to each other, customers may believe the same entity owns them.

Similar to a copyright, the use of a trademark will provide the creator with certain protections. However, it would be wise to register a trademark to avoid the possibility of another person using the trademark and possibly confusing consumers.

Trade Secrets

A trade secret is confidential information that can conceal formulas, business strategies, client lists, and other information that is vital to a business’s operation. Unfortunately, trade secrets are not subject to the same protections provided to copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Instead, a company must find a way to keep trade secrets out of the hands of competitors and the general public.

Many companies will employ the use of employment contracts to avoid the spread of a trade secret. For example, prior to hiring a new employee, a company may request that the employee sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). NDAs are legal documents that are used to prevent a person from speaking about a certain topic, like a trade secret or other information that is not public knowledge.

When an individual violates an NDA or a similar employment agreement by disclosing a trade secret, the employer can pursue damages against the individual for the dissemination of the information.

Our Experienced Fort Smith Intellectual Property Lawyers are Ready to Work with You

If you require legal assistance to deal with an infringement of your intellectual property, contact an experienced Fort Smith intellectual property attorney. The intellectual property attorneys at Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, possess decades of combined legal experience, and we are ready to use our experience to represent you. To schedule a confidential case evaluation, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at (479) 439-9840.