Is My Brand Protected? is the division of AMD LAW formulated to provide information and resources that assist in protecting inventions and new services.
The four legally defined areas of the intellectual property are patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.
Patents: There are three types of patents: utility patents, design patents and plant patents. Utility Patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machines, articles of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. Design Patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Plant Patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant. Once you hold a patent, others can apply to license your product. Patents can last for 20 years. (http://www.uspto.gov/patents/)
Trademarks: A trademark is a name, phrase, sound or symbol used in association with services or products. It often connects a brand with a level of quality on which companies build a reputation. Trademark protection lasts for 10 years after registration and can be renewed “in perpetuity”. But trademarks don’t have to be registered. If a company creates a symbol or name it wishes to use exclusively, it can simply attach the TM symbol. This effectively marks the territory and gives the company room to prosecute if other companies attempt to use the same symbol for their own purposes. (http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/)
Copyrights: Copyright laws protect written or artistic expressions fixed in a tangible medium – novels, poems, songs or movies. A copyright protects the expression of an idea, but not the idea itself. The owner of a copyrighted work has the right to reproduce it, to make derivative works from it (such as a movie based on a book), or to sell, perform or display the work to the public. You don’t need to register your material to hold a copyright, but registration is a prerequisite if you decide to sue for copyright infringement. A copyright lasts for the life of the author plus another 70 years. (http://www.copyright.gov/)
Trade secrets: A formula, pattern, device or compilation of data that grants the user an advantage over competitors is a trade secret. It is covered by state, rather than federal, law. To protect the secret, a business must prove that it adds value to the company; that’s it’s a secret and that appropriate measures have been taken within the company to safeguard the secret.
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