Intellectual Property Lawyers
Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Riverside County with Glendale, Irvine, and Riverside Offices
Creative products and services are central to the success of every business operation. Such products and services, known as intellectual property, can take many forms. They can be inventions, literary products, service plans, logos, symbols, words, songs, software codes, instructional manuals, photographs, works of art, etc. It is critical to protect such assets from theft and misuse. By taking steps to protect intellectual property, business owners are also protecting the core of their company.
At Grant’s Law Firm, in Glendale, Irvine or Riverside, California, our attorneys advise and represent Southern California County businesses and individuals in all areas of intellectual property law and protection, including:
- Trademarks: Protecting words, names, symbols, sounds or colors that distinguish goods and services. Unlike patents, trademarks can be renewed forever as long as they are being used. The Nike® swoosh on an article of clothing or footwear helps distinguish the product and identify Nike® as the source of the goods for that product.
- Patents: Utility patents protect any useful processes, machines, manufactured articles and compositions of matter (chemicals and chemical compounds). Utility patent holders gain the right to exploit the invention or process for 20 years. Design patents protect the appearance, style or design of an object of manufacture and guard against unauthorized use.
- Trade dress, or the packaging, bottling or labeling of a product, focuses on the appearance of a manufactured item. The Campbell’s Soup® label is an instantly recognizable example. Trade dress registration is similar to trademark registration.
- Trade secrets are information that companies keep secret so they maintain an advantage over the competition. In order to qualify as a trade secret, the owner must take precautions to maintain its secrecy. The formula for Coca-Cola® is the most famous trade secret.
- Copyrights protect works such as writings, music and art works, software codes, and instructional manuals from being reproduced, adapted, publicly distributed, or publicly displayed without authorization. A copyright does not protect the idea itself, but rather the author’s expression of that idea. The United States Copyright Office registers copyrights. Currently a copyright lasts the life of the author plus 70 years.
- Domain Names We advise on how to protect your Internet domain and Website content in a fast moving, complex web environment.
Our Intellectual Property Attorneys meet frequently with business executives, inventors, and artists, helping them establish the copyright, trademark and patent strategies that will best protect their intellectual property. We conduct trademark and patent searches within the United States and worldwide. We also provide clients with an accurate assessment of the chances that their trademark will qualify for registration. We assist them with licenses that allow others to use their trademarks, copyrights and patents legally, or conversely for the client to legally use the intellectual property of others.
Intellectual property rights initially vest with the person that conceives of the invention. For example, if a company hires an employee / independent contractor, intellectual property rights initially vest with the employee / independent contractor. As such, companies can acquire those rights by one of three ways from employees / independent contractors. First, a formal Invention Assignment Agreement can be executed when the employee begins employment. The Agreement assigns certain inventions of the employee to the company. Second, invention rights can also be acquired by way of the Employed-to-Invent doctrine. In particular, to the extent that the employer specifically hires or directs an employee to exercise inventive faculties, the invention is owned by the employer. Third, even if the employer does not have full rights to the employee’s invention, the employer may still have a “shop right” to use the invention without liability for infringement depending on whether the employee utilized company assets to develop the invention.
To learn how we help companies protect their intellectual property, contact us today for an initial consultation. Call (888) 937-7555 to speak with an IP lawyer at one of our Southern California offices.