Intellectual property is typically an important part of any Texas business. Unfortunately, some people might not be familiar with the different types of intellectual property. This week, we will focus on the differences between copyright, trademark and patent law.
Copyright law protects works that are considered to be artistic. Most people attribute copyrights to literature, music and other forms of artistic expression. When you have a copyright, you are allowed to use and/or otherwise develop your work in any manner you see fit.
Trademark law refers to product or service marketing, along with an individual or company's name. For instance, the "Golden Arches" are a trademark belonging to McDonald's. They are identifiable with the restaurant chain worldwide. McDonald's and other companies also tend to have trade secrets that they want to protect regarding their products or services. Anything that provides a company or individual economic value by virtue of the fact that it is an unknown to others could be protected.
Patent law protects an inventor's interest in a product whose process is not obvious, is useful or new. The person holding the patent has the right to develop, manufacture and market that product. Many people enter into agreements with other companies to help with those processes while protecting their rights.
Understanding these different types of intellectual property can help you gain the appropriate rights under the law as you grow your business. You will most likely need the assistance with copyright, trademark and/or patent law issues from a Texas attorney. The processes can be complex and time consuming as well. If not handled correctly, your application or applications could be denied or unnecessarily delayed.