What is Intellectual Property Law? How to Find an Intellectual Property Lawyer

Intellectual Property

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual Property refers to creations of the mind. This extends to all inventions as well as artistic works in symbols and literary contributions as well as names, designs, images and other creative endeavors. It is also feel specialization within the law, and it is typically divided into two categories known as industrial property and copyright.

Governing Law

Intellectual property is governed by federal law. It is one of the few bodies of law that actually has its own separate court. These laws are primarily codified. All of the information and resources can be obtained from the official government website, known officially as the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The two classifications of intellectual property demonstrate the amount of protection afforded under the United States Patent and Trademark Office as well as the nature of the property being protected. Industrial property receives the most protection but it also has the most requirements. It refers to matters relating to business as well as official patented inventions. Trademarks are the most common form of protection under this form. Copyright, on the other hand, refers to the literary and artistic endeavors. They are the easiest to protect in certain forms because the copyright applies as soon as you create the work. However, they can also be tricky to enforce protection upon because of the level of proof required. This does not mean though that you cannot trademark artistic or literary works. Tarzan, for instance, is a trademarked entity as well as a copyrighted entity.

Reasons for Hiring an Attorney

When you are beginning the process of protecting your creative works, whether industrial or copyright, it is a good idea to meet with an attorney to discuss your options. Copywriting and trademarking can both be quite expensive. In some cases you may need to pursue both lines of protection while in others it may be enough to choose one. Hiring an intellectual property attorney or law firm is also important when it is time to defend your rights. In fact, is not uncommon for inventors and artists to hire attorneys specifically to contact infringers and offenders to try to scare them off the improper use. You do not necessarily have to go to court. Hiring a law firm or attorney to represent you in this matter is also beneficial if you receive word that you are violating someone's copyright or trademark. The attorney will help you through the process of understanding what legal rights you may have violated or whether there is even a case.

Things to Look for in an Intellectual Property Lawyer

The most important thing when handling patents or inventions is to ensure that the lawyer who is representing you has passed the patent bar as well as the regular state bar. Patent law is entirely separate from regular law practice, and lawyers who practice it must satisfy a number of other requirements. For copyright and trademark issues, you can hire an intellectual property lawyer who has had experience in this field. The two are quite distinct in terms of the requirements.

An attorney who has a background in the field you are working and can also be beneficial. For instance, if you are handling an artistic issue relating to a cartoon character or playwright infringement, it may be better to have an attorney who has some background either in cartooning or theater. This is because the attorney will then have a better idea of the nuances of the actual field and how people are most likely to respond. A lawyer who understands the challenges inherent in your area of law will be better able to represent your interests.

Intellectual Property Blogs

  • Why You Need to Protect Your Intellectual Property

    A few years ago, a series of rewrites of "Pride and Prejudice" came out. One of the most famous was "Pride and Prejudice and Zombie" and other similar titles. The copyright on Jane Austen's work had expired, allowing the beloved novel into the public...

  • Trademarks and You

    Trademarks are logos or sayings or something that identifies your product or brand. While you can trademark something without the assistance of an attorney in a law firm or solo practice, it can be beneficial to have one on retainer as you may need h...