Intellectual Property Law and Litigation
The intellectual property (IP) of a company is one of its most important assets. Violations or infringements of a company’s trademarks, patents, or copyrights constitute a legal breach that is often pursued through high-stakes litigation. The help of an IP litigation attorney is the safest way to guarantee that your company’s intellectual property (including your inventions, creations, designs, and other works) is protected under the law.
Marcum PC Law Firm offers IP protection and litigation services to clients in Houston and Dallas, Texas, as well as throughout the state.
The Benefits of Trademark Registration
Trademarks—those symbols, texts, phrases, and even smells that the public instantly associates with a certain product or entity—have a major influence on how customers interact with and perceive a brand. A simple and easily recognizable trademark can add value to your brand, set your product apart from others, and bolster your company’s goodwill and reputation.
Registering a trademark on your logo, phrase, symbol, or other distinct mark prevents another company from using something associated with your brand without your permission and causing consumer confusion. A wordmark on your name can even prevent someone else from using a sound-alike to capitalize on your success. Once you have trademark protection, you have exclusive rights to your design mark or wordmark and can file a lawsuit against anyone who violates those rights.
Any business that wants to register a trademark on the state or federal level should consult with an experienced trademarks attorney to guarantee exclusive rights to that trademark and avoid infringement and misappropriation.
If a competitor or other entity has unlawfully used your protected materials or used a confusingly similar mark for a related product, that is what’s called trademark infringement. Your trademark protection gives you the ability to bring a lawsuit against the entity infringing on your rights. Before resorting to a lawsuit, which can be time-consuming and costly, many companies will first issue a Cease-and-Desist Letter, a legal document that asks the other entity to stop doing something, with the threat that a lawsuit will be pursued if they do not.
If the other entity continues to infringe on your exclusive rights, you can seek damages through trademark litigation with the assistance of a seasoned trademark infringement attorney. In trademark litigation, the plaintiff must prove that it has a valid mark with exclusive rights for usage and that the defendant’s use of that mark without consent has caused probable consumer confusion. Prevailing in your case could mean you receive monetary damages, the defendant’s profit, and attorney’s fees, as well as injunctive relief to stop infringement, meaning the defendant must stop using your trademark or similar mark.
The U.S. Patent Application Process
A patent gives you exclusive property rights related to an invention or improved design (a machine, manufactured goods, a manufacturing process, chemical composition, etc.). Once filed, you have the right to license, commercialize, or sell your patent, in addition to protecting yourself against another person profiting off of your invention. There are two main categories of patents: design (to protect the appearance) and utility (to protect the process, function, or use).
In the US, patents are granted by the Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) through a patent application process. When you apply, you can ask for a non-provisional or provisional approach to secure your “patent pending” status until your patent is granted. Patents take anywhere from one to three years to obtain and last for 15 to 20 years. A qualified patent attorney can help you verify that your invention has not already been publicly disclosed and, if your invention is patentable, draft your initial application for the USPTO for submission online.
Revision of Patents
Patents can usually be revised without filing an entirely new application and restarting the review process (which can take several years). You can amend the names of the inventors or the claims of the patent (if you’ve made changes to the invention after it received patent protection). If you need to make a new claim, then you would need to file a new application. Making the appropriate amendments could be crucial to protecting your rights against infringement in a court proceeding. A patent attorney can help you file the motion to amend claims and ensure maximum protection of your patent rights.
The Rights for Original Works
Copyrights exist to protect original creative work, including art, architectural design, music, writing, photography, and software. If your work is copyrighted, you have the exclusive right to distribute, publish, perform, or reproduce your work, in addition to pursuing legal action should your rights be violated through infringement.
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, exclusive rights can be shared if more than one person created the work, or the copyright owner can grant the rights to others for marketing purposes. In some cases, the creator does not own the copyright of their work, an exception common in employment relationships or contractual assignments.
Software and Application Development Agreements
As technology advances, protecting your software and applications as creative works has become increasingly important. If you are commissioning software or an application (or being hired to design either), a written software development agreement can establish each party’s rights and responsibilities, as well as who will retain the IP rights.
An experienced copyright attorney can ensure that any agreement between employer and contractor includes the necessary information regarding transfer of ownership of copyrights.
Protect Your IP With Marcum PC Law Firm
Our IP attorneys at Marcum PC Law have years of experience protecting your technology, creative works, and inventions from being infringed, misappropriated, or counterfeited. From our offices in Dallas and Houston, we shield Texans from violations of their rights and provide zealous litigation when needed.
We offer in-house attorney-directed projects for comprehensive U.S. federal, state, and common law searches to help our clients obtain accurate clearance reports to avoid trademark infringement. Our legal team has extensive experience in conducting international searches for patent, trademark, and copyright interference and freedom to operate reports.
In our efforts to protect your intellectual property, work can be done on a flat fee or hourly basis. Request your free consultation for IP infringement today.