CALIFORNIA INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ATTORNEY
If you are seeking an intellectual property attorney in California‚ our attorneys can assist you. Mandour & Associates employs qualified and experienced intellectual property attorneys with offices in Los Angeles‚ Orange County‚ and San Diego. Practicing exclusively in the area of intellectual property‚ our attorneys are ready to assist you and help you protect your rights.
In many cases‚ a business’ most valuable asset is its intellectual property. Intellectual property comprises patents‚ trademarks‚ copyrights‚ and trade secrets. While each type of intellectual property has its own distinct rights and requirements‚ generally speaking‚ intellectual property refers to a bundle of rights designed to protect the creations‚ inventions‚ and good will of a business.
How Do I Protect My Intellectual Property?
Typically‚ the first step in protecting intellectual property is to apply for registration with the controlling federal authority. Patents and trademarks are issued through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Copyrights are registered by the U.S. Copyright Office.
Once an inventor has reduced an invention to practice‚ he or she may apply for a patent. Within the patent application‚ the applicant must (1) disclose the invention‚ (2) enable those reasonably skilled in the art to recreate the invention‚ and (3) define the scope of the invention through patent claims.
The most complex aspect of the patent application is drafting the patent claims. This is because making‚ using‚ or selling something that meets each element of a patent claim constitutes patent infringement. For this reason the USPTO often rejects patent applications if the claims are drawn to broadly.
Once granted‚ a patent lasts for 20 years from the date of first filing. A design patent lasts for a term of 14 years. Due to recent patent reforms‚ preference in the issuance of patents will be given to the first to file for patent protection. To speak to an attorney about how the America Invents Act will affect your business’ patent practice‚ please contact us.
Trademark Registration is granted by the USPTO to trademarks that are distinctive and have been used in commerce in connection with goods or services. The right to register a trademark typically goes to the applicant that can establish priority of use of the trademark. While the owners of unregistered trademarks still maintain some rights‚ registration comes with numerous benefits including the possibility that the trademark will become incontestable.
Copyright Registration is conducted by the U.S. Copyright Office. To register a copyright‚ the work must be original‚ fixed in a tangible medium of expression‚ and involve copyrightable subject matter. Though ideas are not eligible for copyright protection‚ expressions of those ideas may be copyrighted.
Copyright registration is not required for copyright protection. However‚ registration is beneficial in many cases. For example‚ a valid copyright registration is a prerequisite for filing a federal claim for copyright infringement.
There is no trade secret registry. Instead‚ trade secrets holders must constantly employ reasonable measures to maintain secrecy. Trade secret protection lasts as long as the method‚ process‚ machine‚ recipe‚ formula‚ or composition remains secret.
Intellectual Property Litigation
Even if you have taken the necessary initial steps to protect your intellectual property‚ it may be necessary from time to time to enforce your rights.
Intellectual property litigation may take on several different forms including a civil action in a federal district court‚ an action before the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board‚ or a state civil action. Typically patent‚ trademark‚ and copyright actions take place in federal court whereas trade secret actions are often heard by state courts.
Patent litigation often occurs in cases of patent infringement. In many cases‚ a company can enforce its rights by sending a cease and desist letter to the infringing party. A cease and desist letter puts the infringing party on notice and may facilitate negotiations between the parties. However‚ in some cases‚ it may be necessary to pursue a federal action for patent infringement.
When someone other than the patent holder infringes on a registered patent‚ he or she may be subject to liability for patent infringement. Patent infringement comes in two forms‚ literal infringement and infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. Literal patent infringement occurs when every element of a patent claim is duplicated by someone other than the patent holder. A patent is infringed under the doctrine of equivalents when the infringing article is the functional equivalent of the patented invention‚ though it does not meet every element of the claim. Patent litigation may result in an injunction‚ payment of a royalty‚ damages‚ and/or attorney’s fees.
Trademark litigation can occur in a number of different ways. First‚ a trademark application may be subject to an opposition action before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). If a party believes it has priority over a trademark or that the trademark sought to be registered is confusingly similar to its own‚ it may oppose registration of the trademark.
Second‚ once a trademark is registered‚ it may be subject to a petition to cancel. In a petition to cancel‚ the petitioner alleges that the trademark was improperly registered. Petitions to cancel are also heard by the TTAB.
Third‚ it may be necessary to bring a federal action for trademark infringement. Trademark infringement occurs when someone other than the trademark holder uses a mark in commerce that is confusingly similar to the trademark or will create a likelihood of customer confusion. An action for trademark infringement may result in damages‚ an injunction‚ and/or attorney’s fees.
Copyright litigation in most cases involves a civil action for copyright infringement. An action for copyright infringement can be brought in federal or state court. If someone other than the author or owner of a registered copyright copies‚ creates a derivative work‚ distributes‚ performs‚ or displays the work without authorization‚ he or she may be held liable for copyright infringement.
Trade Secret Litigation
Trade secret litigation often involves an action for trade secret misappropriation. Trade secret misappropriation occurs when someone uses improper means to obtain a trade secret. Improper means includes bribery‚ theft‚ and espionage. Obtaining a trade secret through proper means‚ however‚ is not actionable.
If you would like assistance in protecting your intellectual property‚ please contact us. Our experienced and qualified intellectual property attorneys have aided clients in acquiring patent‚ trademark‚ and copyright registration. Furthermore‚ if you have been sued or believe that someone is infringing your intellectual property‚ please contact us. Our attorneys can help you protect your rights.