PATENT PENDINGMagazines, books, comics, clothing, and a ton of other products have specialized trademarks on them. These trademarks are used to acknowledge the source of the products. For written works, art, and anything in the artistic spectrum, copyright laws apply. Patents are different from trademarks or copyright because they deal solely with an invention of some sort. Before applying for a patent, you should always be sure that your invention is up to standards and ready to be patented.

Applying for a patent can be a difficult process. This process can be done by yourself or you can entrust the help from a hired professional. Filing for a patent requires that the person filing submit claims, specifications, and drawings, which are required within certain situations.

  • Specifications: Each invention must have a written description explaining exactly what it is, how it was made and how it functions.
  • Claims: Claims are used to help determine what the invention is. When filing for a patent, a claim is used to set the invention apart from others.
  • Drawings: If the invention is complex, there may be requirements for drawings depicting each function of the invention along with the end result.

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Secured connection with httpsMost websites have a copyright notice in the footer, which is placed there as a normal practice by website designers. It let’s the world know that the owner of the website has done their due diligence in protecting their content. But what exactly does it mean and what protection does it provide?

What is a Copyright?

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of ‘original works of authorship,’ including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.”

The basis of the U.S. law is the Copyright Act of 1976, which gives authors of original works exclusive rights to the works and the option to grant usage rights to others. Generally, the rights include:

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nvidiaIt can be almost comical at times to see “the big dogs” fighting to stay on top of the pack of a multi billion dollar industry: technology. When we think of patents, trademarks and copyrights, we often think of “the little guy” and his calculated efforts to leave his footprint, whether large or small, in the world and make a living for his family. Patents are supposed to provide the new, excited and “I’m taking the bull by the horns” entrepreneur the protection needed to share his product or services with the world without some big bully (a major corporation) swooping in on his great idea and leaving him high and dry. However, greed and power run deep the higher you climb to the top. And once you’ve found yourself at that level, that’s when it can really get dirty.

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Human mindFor the most part, people don’t set out to “steal” someone else’s property or creative ideas, but they are often inspired by what they see or what they’ve heard, which in turn leads them down a sometimes daunted path of inappropriate business dealings equating to the loss of their business, fines, fees and even bankruptcy. Now that was a gruesome image for any business owner to wrap his arms around, but unfortunately, it can be a very real situation if you don’t fully understand the rules in the land of intellectual property.

Here are five common myths about Intellectual Property.

  1. Businesses automatically own all intellectual property created by employees or contractors – This is false unless the employee or subcontract explicitly states that the company owns the rights to any intellectual property created by the employee or contractor, entrepreneurs may be surprised to find that they have limited or no rights to the work.
  1. A patent equates to worldwide protection – A patent filed in the US only protects that product within the States. If the owner wants to ensure protection abroad, he must file a patent in each country where the patent will be sold and/or used.

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realquestThousands of photos that were taken of the property by a photographer from Lake Worth have come into question. A lawsuit has been filed against Corelogic, a real estate firm. The plaintiffs, Steven Vandel, the photographer, and Robert Stevens initiated the lawsuit in the federal courts on August 8, in the southern part of California. The claim was against Corelogic, a company based out of San Diego. Corelogic is responsible for the technology that processes the MLS or multiple listing services in the major markets within the United States. Photos of properties are normally purchased from photographers to use on the MLS.

Joel B. Rothman, an attorney from Boca Raton, and attorney Darren J. Quinn, resident of Del Mar, filed the complaint claiming that Corelogic continuously lifted and used photos that were on the MLS and removed the identifying markings that included metadata tags, the photographer’s name, and other copyrights. After snatching the photographs, they later appeared on RealQuest, which is a paid database offered by Corelogic.

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intellectual property word cloudTrademarks, copyrights, and patents are all available to the public upon request. You do not have to be a business owner or part of a major company to apply for one of them. You must have something unique that is not a copy of someone else’s work in order to be granted a patent, copyright, or rights to use a trademark.

Many people will confuse the three, but there are distinct differences among them. Here are a few of those differences.

  • Copyright covers works of art that include art itself, whether it is two or three dimensional, pictures, photos, drawings, graphic designs, songs, musical works, movies, plays, shows, and anything that can be placed in the same category as these.
  • Trademarks protect logos, phrases, and words that appear through commerce and identify certain services or goods from specific sources.
  • Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights are all granted through three separate application processes. They can all be granted for the same endeavor.
  • Copyright will not protect a slogan, phrase, or trade name that is bare. This would be ideal for a trademark.
  • Images that are used in a logo must be protected under trademarks. Whereas, images that are only used temporarily can be copyrighted.
  • Silk screened or prominently displaced images on the back or the front of a top, cap, shirt, or hat falls into the category of artwork and must be copyrighted, not trademarked.
  • Trademarks are the logos that are sewn into clothing whether it is on the sleeve, neck, chest or other area. They are not dominant over the entire piece of clothing. The tag normally holds the trademark for the company responsible for creating the article of clothing.

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Green copyright symbolStealing someone’s works of art and calling them your own is illegal. Even written works can be stolen and sometimes plagiarized into another piece of work and then sold. These situations are frowned upon in companies and the court room.

A Florida couple is being sued for using 12 photographs originally taken by Getty. These photographs consisted of dogs and cats. They were used illegally by the Florida couple in their business which is a home-based company featuring website design. “Vet Web Designers” is the name they were using to provide veterinary clinics and veterinarians with entertaining and interactive websites.

A default judgment, a judgment made in the event that the defendants fail to defend their side of the story, was made on behalf of Getty. Due to liability being established through this default judgment, the courts could then move on to awarding damages. $21,433 in damages was ordered by the court for the Florida couple to pay back to the owner of the photographs used. This amount was to cover the ten images that were used that Getty had failed to register in a timely manner. However, there were two images that were used that Getty had registered, netting them $300,000 for the infringement act.

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In  an an earlier blog we discussed how there has been a new IP Czar appointed.  This blog post will discuss this topic in further detail.

Daniel H MartiOn Thursday 28 August, the White House announced that it is nominating a new Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Daniel H. Marti. The role of Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator otherwise known as IP czar is created by the PRO-IP Act of 2008 by George W. Bush. The position revolves around the coordination of U.S. law-enforcement strategy, copyright, patents and trademarks.

Mr. Marti is the managing partner at the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend, Washington D.C, and a member of the International Trademark Association. He received a B.A. from Georgetown University and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law. During his tenure at the Kirkpatrick Townsend, he practiced on protection, management and enforcement of intellectual property assets in the U.S. and abroad. He also used to represent clients in a variety of cases which involved trademarks, false advertising, unfair competition, copyrights, trade secrets and cyber-squatting before U.S. federal courts, TTAB (Trademark Trial and Appeal Board) and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). Daniel H. Marti has been recognized as the “Super Lawyer” for IP in Washington, D.C by Super Lawyers and as “IP Star” by Managing Intellectual Property.

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According to a recent court filing on Aug 25, Parcus Medical, LLC and Arthrex Inc. settled a patent infringement and capitalizing on trade secrets lawsuit.

The History of the Lawsuit

arthrexReinhold Schmieding, the founder of Arthrex, is the mastermind behind America’s great medical fortunes. Headquartered in Naples, FL, Arthrex is a leader in the segments of sports medicine development and educational services for orthopedic surgeons.

It was in December 2011, that the Arthrex Inc. sued Parcus Medical, LLC for stealing proprietary information through some of its former employees. The lawsuit claimed that the previous employees had violated the non-competing agreements, i.e. an agreement between employer and employee wherein it is stated that the employee cannot use any data or information acquired to operate a subsequent business within a given period of time. According to the court papers the case was sued in federal court in Fort Myers, Florida. The case is Arthrex Inc. v. Parcus Medical, LLC, 10-cv-00151, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Fort Myers).

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newcastleBy observing various court cases, recent and past, about copyright and intellectual property (IP), it is safe to say that the rules and regulations are getting more and more complex and so is the interpretation of the laws. The most important question that comes to the mind after studying the various rulings and proceedings is what can be patented, and what cannot be patented.

Given below are details of two lawsuits and following judgements that can help clear the doubts:

Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International

In 1999, Ian Shepherd, an Australian, registered a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a computer program that would reduce settlement risk between two parties involved in a financial exchange by using a computer program that works as a third party. Later three more patents based on the first patent was registered by Alice Corporation, a company founded Ian Shepherd after receiving the initial patent in 1999.

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