Trademark Priority

In the United States, subject to one exception, trademark rights arise from use in commerce, regardless of whether or not the mark is registered. The first user of a mark generally takes priority over all subsequent users with respect to use of the mark in that market. The first user of a mark in commerce, Read more about Trademark Priority[…]

Publication of Copyright Works

Publication was the key to obtaining federal copyright under the Copyright Act of 1909. Publication is still important to copyright owners but it is no longer the key. Publication is defined in the Copyright Act of 1976 as “the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer Read more about Publication of Copyright Works[…]

Copyright Piracy and The NET Act of 1997

Although United States copyright laws originally contained no criminal liability provisions, the 1897 revision to the Copyright Act made it a misdemeanor to unlawfully perform dramatic or musical works for profit. In later revisions, additional sections were added for the infringement of other types of copyrightable works. Although leaving unchanged the one-year imprisonment penalty established Read more about Copyright Piracy and The NET Act of 1997[…]

Dilution of Trademarks

It is often necessary for employers to make confidential information, including trade secrets, accessible to their employees. Employers certainly want to protect trade secrets from leaking to competitors, so they often make employees sign confidentiality agreements as a term of employment. The question is: what happens to trade secret information when an employee is discharged Read more about Dilution of Trademarks[…]

Filing Requirements for Patents

To obtain a patent, an inventor must file an application in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Inventors may apply for one of two types of patent applications: (1) a non-provisional application, which begins the examination process and may lead to a patent and (2) a provisional application, which establishes a filing date Read more about Filing Requirements for Patents[…]

Have your Patent Rights been violated?

A patent is a property right that the federal government gives to an inventor with respect to an invention. That property right is the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention without the inventor’s permission for the limited period specified by the patent statute. A person Read more about Have your Patent Rights been violated?[…]

Losing the Secrecy of a Trade Secret

A trade secret is proprietary information about a product or business that should be protected and concealed from the general public, so that its concept is not made available for others to use for their own profit. If too much information is disclosed to the public, there is a risk of abandonment of the trade Read more about Losing the Secrecy of a Trade Secret[…]

Trade Dress: A Product’s Total Image and Overall Appearance

Even though most people associate trademarks with brand names (e.g., “Kodak”), trademarks also include trade dress, service marks, certification marks, and collective marks.  This article will focus on various aspects related to trade dress.   Trade Dress Basics Originally, courts considered the term “trade dress” to encompass only a product’s packaging.  Over the years, however, Read more about Trade Dress: A Product’s Total Image and Overall Appearance[…]

Foreign Patent Applications and the Patent Cooperation Treaty

After recently providing a presentation to the local bar association on PCT, I thought it might be helpful to provide some informaiton on International Filing in this edition of the IP News. I also must thank Lisa for her help and patience in preparing the presentation. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) of 1970 was created Read more about Foreign Patent Applications and the Patent Cooperation Treaty[…]

Disclosure of Confidential Information by a Former Employee

It has been brought to my attention that there is confusion regarding Copyrights and Works for Hire Agreements. Copyright Owner Copyright law protects original works of authorship and grants “authors” of such works the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, performance and display. The author of a work is generally defined as the person who actually Read more about Disclosure of Confidential Information by a Former Employee[…]