Breaking Down Intellectual Property Cases
Let an Intellectual Property Lawyer from Our Firm Help You When You Need it Most
Intellectual property is only as safe as the legal steps that you take to protect it. At Glancy Prongay & Murray, each intellectual property lawyer is dedicated to helping clients safeguard their their various inventions, creative works, and brand identifies through litigation and other means.
Our IP litigation lawyers have decades of experience representing clients in a wide range of patent, copyright and trademark matters. We take the time to understand each client’s unique circumstances and to craft a legal strategy accordingly. The firm has a strong track record of success for the people, business and institutions that we have represented over more than three decades.
We are also pleased to offer a wide variety of fee arrangements to help share the risk of litigation with our clients. That includes partial and full contingency agreements, as well as assistance with litigation financing.
A patent is a legal protection for inventions, from household appliances to medical devices, pharmaceuticals and automobile components. The holder of a patent has the legal right to ban others from using the invention without consent for a limited period of time.
There are two different type of patents:
- Utility Patents: These patents cover “new and useful” physical machines and other processes, as well as improvements on existing machines and processes.
- Design Patents: As the name suggests, design patents cover “new and useful” designs. They are often used along with copyrights and trademarks to protect the design of a product.
Patents are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They typically span for 20 years from the date of the filing of an application. Once a patent is granted, it is up to the patent holder to enforce it.
Enforcement starts with actively monitoring for patent infringement, often with the help of an experienced intellectual property litigation attorney. In the event of infringement, a patent holder has a number of options. The patent holder can seek user fees from the infringer through a license agreement or instruct to infringer to stop using the infringing product. The threat of a patent infringement lawsuit may be necessary to spur successful negotiations. In the event that a patent holder does go to court, the holder can ask for a judge to order the infringer to discontinue the infringing product and to pay money damages for any related financial injury to the patent holder.
Copyright protects creative works like literature, music, art, drama and other tangible forms of expression.
Copyright protection is available regardless of whether a particular work is ever published. Although you are not required to register a work with the United States Copyright Office, registration is a useful tool that can ward off infringement.
A copyright typically extends for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. The legal protection generally bans others from using the work without consent during that time. There are some important exceptions, including for “fair use.” Federal law allows others to use small portions of a copyright protected work for commentary, criticism, academic purposes and news reporting. How much of any particular work can be used under this exception depends largely on the circumstances.
A person whose copyrighted work is being used without consent has the right to sue for infringement. These legal actions are designed to get a court to order the infringer to stop. Money damages, penalties and attorney fees may also be awarded.
Trademark is a legal protection that allows businesses and institutions to safeguard the unique designs, slogans, words, terms and phrases that help define their brands.
There are a number of steps that businesses and institutions can take to protect their brands. It starts with selecting a mark that is likely to be eligible for trademark protection. That means choosing designs that are unique and distinctive, rather than generic. A mark that simply describes the product (“ice cold beer”) or service (“long-term parking”) that you are providing is not likely to be eligible for trademark protection.
Registration is also an important part of protecting a trademark. Although you are not required to register you mark with the Patent and Trademark Office, doing so puts others on notice. It also is helpful in proving trademark infringement in court, if needed. A seasoned intellectual property lawyer can help you select a mark that is eligible for trademark protection, register it with the USPTO and defend the mark against infringement.
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board can be a valuable resource for defending trademarks. Although the board does not hear trademark infringement cases, it does consider challenges to trademark registration applications. A company or institution that has registered its mark can challenge the registration of a similar mark on the grounds that it will cause confusion among consumers. A business or institution can also ask the board to cancel and existing registration on similar grounds of because it is no longer being used.
Trademark holders also have the right to sue for infringement in court. To prove infringement, the trademark holder generally has to show that a similar mark raises a “likelihood” that consumers will be confused by the mark and associate it with your trademark. Courts in infringement cases look at various factors, including the similarity between the marks, the strength of the mark you are suing to protect and whether the businesses or institutions involved are using the marks to sell similar goods or services.
Speak With an Intellectual Property Lawyer Today
If you are seeking to enforce a patent, copyright or trademark against infringement, it is important to seek counsel of an experienced intellectual property litigation lawyer.
At Glancy Prongay & Murray, our attorneys have been representing people in securities, consumer and other fraud cases for more than 30 years. We have a strong track record of success in these cases. Contact us online or give us a call to schedule a consultation with an intellectual property lawyer today.