Trademark and Intellectual Laws You Need to Know

TrademarkIntellectual property law is a set of laws that deal with safeguarding and enforcing the rights of people’s inventions, talent and artistic works. Just in the same way the law protects real human beings, property law does protect the intangible property. The purpose of property and intellectual law is to provide inventors with incentives to further their creativity with a view to advance the needs of the society. The fact that the innovations help to advance the interests of community development, property rights are intended to profit the innovators.

Under the US constitution, authors are granted exclusive right to their creative works. Section 8 of the constitution has given the Congress the authority to regulate commerce between states, which offers support to come up with legislation in the area of property law. The U.S Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S Copyright Office are the two agencies that administer the property laws.

Patents are designed to provide inventors with the right to make use of their product in their area of business. Depending upon the invention, patent rights are designed to last approximately 20 years. Some of the items that qualify under this law include technological improvements, new machines, and designs and manufactured goods. Patent law will not apply to inventions that are believed to be of obvious design or look or those that are morally offensive.

Trademark Laws

On the other hand trademark laws protect the slogans, symbols, names and images that are used to identify particular goods or services. The purpose of this law is to eliminate confusion, help buyers distinguish different brands and prevent false or misleading advertisements. Since the objective of trademark law is to help distinguish between brands, generic or marks perceived as descriptive may not qualify. Rights under this law can last forever and are obtainable by way of a mark. Although not necessary in law, trademark owners may register their marks for further protection.

Trademark LawCopyrights are also closely related to trademark and intellectual property rights only that they are limited to music, architectural designs, motion pictures and writings. However, this law does not cover theories, ideas or such things that have not been covered in a fixed medium. A copyright is a creation of the works and it includes unpublished works. It is common for copyright owners to use a copyright symbol and the date but this is not a requirement. In many jurisdictions, including the US. Copyrights are valid throughout the life of the copyright owner plus an additional 70 years.

All these legislative processes are aimed at protecting the owners against infringement by other people. Infringement may be defined as gaining access or using someone else’s intellectual property without the express authority of the owner of the right. As a means of advancing this right, owners are encouraged to make the world know that their rights exist. This notice is aimed at deterring infringement by others who may violate them. Crating awareness of the existence of your rights provides additional protection and legal benefits in the sense that the owner can easily prosecute any potential infringement in the court of law where necessary.
Let an Intellectual Property Attorney Help

If you have a copyright or are thinking about obtaining the rights to something that is not obvious, you might need an intellectual property attorney to help protect your hard-earned rights. Conversely, if you have been accused of infringing on other people’s rights, you are need to hire a legal expert in the field of intellectual and property law to help fight back.

Understanding What DMCA Notices Are

DMCA stands for the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. This is a copyright law in the United States that implements two treaties created in 1996 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Enacted by then-president Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998 this copyright law deals with the special challenges brought about by regulating digital media.

How the Law Works

When you publish something on the world-wide web (Internet) you hold the copyright to it whether it’s an image, writing, or song. Finding someone who’s stolen this and placed it on their website is angering. If this happens, you can send them a notice demanding they take the item down. These are known as DMCA takedown notices or DMCA notices for short.

What These Notices Include

There are four important steps included in sending these notices. They include:

Take a screenshot of the infringement. Make sure you do this first because once you send a notice the website must remove the infringing material and it’ll be too late to take a screenshot then.

Locate the website’s host, which is whom you’ll send the notice to. You can’t sue any website based in the United States whose user infringes on your copyright. However, they must follow a specific procedure to remove the content once they’ve receive the notice. Any web host based outside of the United States doesn’t have to comply with the DMCA unless they’re part of the European Union or they’re in Australia.

Make sure you send your notice to the right person. Here you’re looking for the Copyright Agent. Click on “legal” or “terms of use” in the website’s footer as the information is usually found there. Otherwise, you may need to contact the U.S. Copyright Office Directory of Copyright Agents. You’re searching for whom to send your grievance letter.

Draft and send a letter that specifically states what material they’ve infringed on, where it’s located, your contact information, and digital signature. Make sure you’ve stated that you have a “good faith belief” that this is copyrighted material. This is a statement you’ll want to make under penalty of perjury so that you’re taken seriously.

Other Legal Options

Sometimes these notices simply don’t work and you’ll need to consider your other options. These include:

Ask the website owner to add a credit to the image linking it back to your website

Send a cease and desist letter demanding that the website’s owner pay you for using your copyrighted material on their website or hire a lawyer to do this for you

Hire an attorney to file a lawsuit on your behalf about copyright infringement

DMCA notices are really helpful today as long as the copyrighted material doesn’t fall under “fair use.” When this happens the copyrighted material can stay on the website. This typically includes times when someone uses your copyrighted material for a transformative purpose such as commenting on, criticizing, or making a parody of the material. When this is the case the website owner doesn’t need your permission to use your copyrighted material. The fair use law also pertains to anyone who’s using copyrighted material for educational purposes.

It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the issue before you take any type of recourse about what you believe is copyright infringement. As such, you may wish to speak with an attorney first.