A primer on intellectual property laws

September 15, 2016

Intellectual property laws are those that protect a person’s images, ideas, concepts or the arrangements of words. To formalize the protection of these works, an intellectual property attorney will work with the creative property’s owner to register them as the legitimate owner of the works in question.

There are three main types of intellectual property protections.

Copyrights – This protection is bestowed upon the creators of original works that can range from books, movies and recordings, to music, photographs, software and other types of creative properties. They protect the original works only and give copyright owners the exclusive ability to reproduce, sell, distribute, perform, display or release the copyright to others.

Trademarks – A trademark is used to identify and distinguish goods or services from others and may take the form of words, symbols or devices. Some examples of this are logos (think McDonald’s arches) or a tagline (“you deserve a break today”). If another company attempted to use these, then McDonalds will have a right to file a suit to block the use, based on trademark infringement. The key issue when determining trademark infringement is whether or not another company’s use of materials would create confusion in the public’s eye.

Patents – A patent is a protection of an invention. It gives the patent holder the exclusive right to make, use or sell the invention for a specified amount of time. Patents fall into three categories:

• Utility Patent – granted by the government for machines and processes.
• Design Patent – granted based on the unique design or appearance of a product.
• Plant Patent – granted to specifically protect the reproduction of plant varieties using processes other than seeds.

The Law Office of Christopher Kalis serves Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and surrounding Texas communities.