As the California Department of General Services (DGS) notes, intellectual property is the legal term for “creations of the mind.” Such creations can include ideas, inventions, or processes.
Intellectual property certainly sounds like a phrase that can be broadly applied to a wide swath of possible subjects, but most legal claims involving intellectual property disputes focus on one of five major areas. It is enormously important for any person who believes he or she may have a valid claim relating to an intellectual property issue to immediately retain legal counsel.
Types of Intellectual Property Issues in California
Intellectual property disputes can frequently involve very passionate positions about the rights of all parties involved. If a case is not properly handled, the matter can become very costly very quickly.
Essentially, most—but not all—intellectual property cases in California involve one of the five following types of issues:
- Copyrights — A copyright protects original works created in fixed forms. Examples include literary and musical works such as poetry, novels, and songs as well as more complex works like computer software. Copyrights are filed with that United States Copyright Office and the duration can vary depending on several factors.
- Trademarks — A trademark (or service mark) is a design, symbol, phrase, and/or word that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods or a service. Brand names, slogans, and logos are common examples of copyrighted items, and copyrights should be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Most trademarks do not expire.
- Patents — A patent is a property right granted by the USPTO for certain inventions. Design patents are typically valid for 15 years, while utility patents and plant patents can be valid for 20 years.
- Trade Secrets — Many different kinds of processes, formulas, or other items that a company believes to be inherent to its success can be protected from being publicly disclosed by employees through non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). The USPTO states that a trade secret needs to be used in business and must provide some kind of advantage over the competitors who do not use it.
- Rights of Publicity — Also known as an individual’s “personality rights,” the right of publicity gives a person control over how his or her name, likeness, voice, or any other related area concerning his or her personality is used. The right of publicity claims commonly involves commercial use of a person’s image or likeness without his or her permission.
Find a Business Litigation Attorney in California
If you or your company is involved in any kind of intellectual property dispute in California, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Leiva Law Firm is based in Canoga Park and serves clients throughout the Los Angeles area.
Our firm is dedicated to helping you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your particular situation. We can provide a free consultation to review your case and help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call 818-519-4465 today.