Before you can delve into the services intellectual property attorneys can provide, it is important to understand what intellectual property is and the law surrounding the term.
Intellectual property is anything that you have created or designed from scratch – meaning that it is entirely new. It includes any creation – from composing a simple limerick to developing the latest and greatest technological gadget.
Legally, there are individual rights that are attached to intellectual property. These rights are there to protect the inventor from have their creations or innovations stolen or copied by another person. It works in conjunction with copyright or patent laws but has its own legal standing.
So what can intellectual property attorneys do for you?
1. Protect Your Rights
If you are in the employ of a company with whom you have signed a contract releasing your intellectual property rights, anything you create or invent while in their employ is owned by your employer. In this event, an attorney can assist you in receiving adequate compensation for your creation. However, this can be a difficult situation to challenge, and it may be best to consult an attorney before you sign away your rights to a contract.
If your employment contract does not specify who owns your intellectual property, you retain the rights to your invention. Your employer can purchase the rights from you, and your attorney can ensure that you get adequate compensation for your work.
If you designed something while not employed or under no contractual obligations, the rights remain with you. This means that you can sell the innovation to any person or company you wish. An attorney can assist you in the legal aspects of the sale as well as to determine the value of the creation.
2. Unauthorized Use
Any person who uses or misuses your intellectual property without your permission is doing so unlawfully, and you can sue them. However, in most cases some copyright or patent needs to be in place before a third party can be sued for infringement.
In some instances, copyright can be assumed. For example, if you have written content for a website and the client has not paid you but is using the copy, they can be sued for compensation. Keep in mind that the value of the lawsuit should exceed the attorney and other legal fees before employing the services of an attorney.
3. Copyrights And Patents
Unsure about how to apply and receive a copyright or patent for your creation or invention? An intellectual property attorney will not only assist you in the process but will take care of the entire procedure on your behalf.
Not all copyrights or patents are awarded. Your creation needs to be entirely new or includes an addition that is entirely new and which improves an existing product. A consultation with an attorney can help you determine whether your invention meets with the necessary copyright or patent specifications.