Understanding Intellectual Property
Intellectual property law touches our lives every day in innumerable ways. It’s in the brand name on our shoes, the songs we hear on the radio, the devices we use to look at the internet and the words we read on websites. This page provides an overview of intellectual property I the United States.
Copyright law protects creativity and financial rewards therefrom by providing rights to reproduce, modify, display and sell original projects. Although the law frequently uses the term “authors,” in fact this type of intellectual property is not only the written word, but other diverse subject matter that includes art, music, architecture and even computer programs!
The owner of a work containing copyright has rights that can be licensed or sold to a publisher or other parties. The creator or author of a work containing copyright may be, but not necessarily, the owner of the work.
Patent law protects inventors by giving them, for a limited time, an exclusive right to exclude others from profiting from their inventions. The goal is to provide people and businesses a financial incentive to develop new technologies which will ultimately benefit the public.
Patents protect a wide variety of inventions, from the proverbial better mousetrap to high-technology items like medical devices, pharmaceuticals and microchips. Patents may also be licensed and sold to others.
Trademark law protects the name, logo or other identifying information of a business, so that consumers know they are purchasing the goods or services with the quality they desire.
Trademark law is crucial to business because a company can spend months designing a logo and years developing a good reputation among consumers. Unfortunately, all that work and financial investment may quickly unravel if consumers pay for an inferior imitation marketed by someone who displays your trademark without your consent.
To preserve a competitive advantage, companies often protect trade secrets and other confidential information. This information includes manufacturing processes and methods that (i) cannot be protected by copyright, trademark or patent law, or (ii) for which such protection is not considered cost-effective.
Skilled lawyers often protect their clients’ trade secrets, in part, through non-disclosure or non-compete agreements.
Experienced Intellectual Property Assistance
At the Law Office of Adrienne B. Naumann, we assist individuals and businesses in protecting their work through a variety of matters in intellectual property law, including registration and contracts.
The Law Office of Adrienne B. Naumann represents clients internationally as well as throughout the Chicago, Illinois metropolitan area.