What is IP?
Intellectual property (IP) is the end result of creative genius. It’s what becomes tangible when you bring new ideas to the world, whether that’s something completely new or something much better than has ever been seen before. IP can be bought or sold, which means it needs to be legally protected by trademarks, copyrights and patents. And it needs to be diligently monitored by an agile team of professionals who will watch your back, day and night. That’s where we come in.
The fast-changing world of national and international business requires more understanding of patent law than ever before. Sometimes a patent portfolio is a big draw when a business is for sale. Often, a savvy buyer will look for untapped value that may be protectable by patents, especially if the seller hasn’t already protected these assets. Patent strategies are also expanding to include everything from the software behind a web site to business methodology.
Here in the U.S., patents can be awarded for utility and design inventions. Utility patents protect the inventions of process, such as a method of refining petroleum; machines, such as motors; and compositions of matter, like a metal alloy or chemical compound. Design patents protect the ornamental feature of an object. And the laws vary by country around the world. McGarry Bair knows how to navigate the waters and bring you the information you need to make strategic plans so you can stay competitive.
When you name your invention, you’re marking your territory and establishing exclusive rights. Most people think a trademark is simply a word or two, but it can be anything that distinguishes your brand, including a color (light pink for fiberglass insulation), a graphic design (like the NIKE® swoosh), a character (like the Jolly Green Giant), a sound (like the NBC chimes) or a package (like the Coca-Cola® bottle).
Trademarks are assets that can be bought, sold or licensed. They can become highly profitable, so it’s always worth it to spend the time to register and protect them. You can lose your trademark if you don’t protect it and with no protection, there’s no enforcement.
When you’ve got a great idea, give us a call. We can help with trademark selection, registration and enforcement, so what’s yours is always yours.
Trade dress refers to the packaging or configuration of a product sold in commerce. Here, the total brand image presented to the public may be protected, including such things as color arrangements, the appearance of packaging, product configurations, and the appearance of a web site. The law of trade dress generally parallels trademark law except when it comes to product configurations. U.S. courts are wrestling with the scope of permissible protection in light of the patent laws and the Supreme Court’s determination that state law cannot encroach on the exclusive federal power to protect patentable inventions.
Contrary to the name, a copyright is not a single right, but it is a bundle of individual, exclusive and separable rights that protects original works of authorship. As with all IP, copyrights can be bought and sold. Copyright protection gives you national coverage and we can help you gain international rights as well.
While it may seem very intuitive that written works belong to the author, matters of ownership can get complicated when the work is used in the public domain, if the work has been assigned or if the work is transferred by law. Assignments and exclusive licenses must be in writing to be valid and enforceable. And we can help with all of that.
At McGarry Bair, our litigation teams are designed just for you, which makes sense when you think about it. After all, not all cases are the same and neither are the facts. Depending on what you need, we can team up our quarterback and big picture guy or our gilded pen and can-do gunslinger. Need a soft-spoken but determined negotiator? We’ve got one. Need a verbal scalper? We've got one of those too. Our litigation teams are as strategically assembled as our solutions to your lawsuit.