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Intellectual Property Law - A Guide To Understanding Ip Law In The United States

By Expert Author: Steve Manningham

In the United States, property law has been put in place to encourage the free flow of exchange. Intellectual property law is the only part of this that is the exact opposite. Instead, the purpose of intellectual property laws are to encourage new technologies, artistic expressions and inventions while promoting economic growth. The government has done this by putting laws in place to exclude all others from using this specific type of property. Intellectual property comprises of three main categories: trademark law, copyright law and patent law. Other categories or subcategories from these big three include, industrial design rights, trade dress and trade secrets. In general, patents protect inventions of tangible things; copyrights protect various forms of written and artistic expression and trademarks protect a name or symbol that identifies the source of the goods or services. Trade secret law varies from state to state and may consist of any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information that is used to obtain an advantage over a competitor. Startup companies and growing businesses are often plagued by poor legal work in the field of intellectual property. If you have a trademark or a patent that is the main part of your business you should always have an attorney conduct a search to make sure you are not infringing on another as well as take the time to register. Intellectual property is never an issue until it is too late, it is very cheap to research and register early rather than when problems occur years later. No matter what size your business is, it is essential that you seek an experienced patent attorney to get counsel in regards to protecting what could be very valuable intellectual property for your business. Whether it be a business logo, slogan, trade secret, or an invention, it is better to at minimum file for a provisional patent to secure a patent pending, or get a trademark for a logo, which costs less than a patent, but can protect your business from another person or company infringing on your business logo. IP law can be a bit confusing and overwhelming at times, but it is something all businesses should know the basics of and importance of when it comes to protecting your core intellectual property, such as trademarking a log or slogan to patenting a utility or software.

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