Intellectual Property (Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents)
TrademarksA company’s trademark or service mark is much more than just a name—it is the face of the company. A trademark or service mark not only indicates the origin of the good or service, but also represents the quality of the product being offered. Consumers buy goods and services with a certain mark because of the quality they have come to expect and/or the image conveyed by use of the goods and services. Thus, protecting the name by which consumers recognize goods/services preserves the value of a brand and the reputation of a company.
Trademarks and service marks can be a variety of things such as words, designs, logos, and trade dress (product packaging and product shapes). A three-tiered trademark system exists in the Unites States, consisting of common law, state, and federal trademark rights. It is important to understand and appreciate each in the selection and protection of trademark rights.
At the initial adoption stage of any mark, some form of search should be conducted to ensure that the mark a company wishes to adopt will stand out from and not infringe upon the mark of a competitor. Myers Lin can assist in conducting such searches and advising clients of the usability and registerability of a mark.
Once a client decides to adopt and use a particular mark, Myers Lin can assist in applying for federal and/or state registration of the mark and help navigate the registration process. Upon registration, Myers Lin also provides docketing assistance to ensure that all future filings are timely made to preserve a client’s rights in a mark.
The firm also has extensive experience before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in inter partes proceedings, such as opposition, cancellations, and concurrent use proceeding. These proceedings are the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s version of trials where parties resolve issues pertaining to the use of trademarks or service marks. Myers Lin offers clients a solid background of experience in these matters.
Myers Lin can also assist in matters related to trademarks such as licensing, unfair completion, and false advertising.
CopyrightsMyers Lin has extensive experience in securing protection for copyrightable works under federal copyright laws. The subject matter entitled to copyright protection is quite diverse and includes such things as architectural works, audio-visual works, computer software, and literary works.
Protection under United States copyright laws begins immediately upon the creation and fixation of the work in a physical form. However, federal registration of the copyrights provides substantial advantages in the event that litigation is necessary to enforce the copyright, such as the right to recover statutory damages and attorneys’ fees. In fact, registration is often a prerequisite to initiation of an infringement action.
Copyright registration is often straightforward in comparison to trademarks and patents, but Myers Lin is able to assist in navigating the nuances of the process. Additionally, should the need for litigation arise, Myers Lin can obtain an expedited copyright registration in a matter of just days.
Myers Lin also counsels and assists clients in copyright ownership issues, licensing and distribution, and avoidance of infringement of the copyrights of others. Relatedly, the firm counsels clients on rights pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other copyright laws.
PatentsA company’s patent portfolio can be one of its biggest assets. Patents allow companies to exclude others from practicing their invention and can be extremely versatile. For example, a patent can potentially allow the company to raise barriers to entry for its competition, provide a source of licensing revenue, or provide a counter punch to any threats of infringement by other patent owners.
Furthermore, a robust patent portfolio may be desirable for funding purposes or exit strategies.
There are generally two types of patents. (1) Utility patents, which cover new processes, machines, articles of manufacture, and compositions of matter; and (2) Design patents, which cover ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
Before deciding to file a patent application, the invention should be captured through an invention disclosure and it may be desirable to perform a prior art search to determine the novelty and non-obviousness of the invention. Myers Lin can also assist in the invention disclosure process, conducting such searches, and advising clients of potential issues with the prior art.
Once a client decides to proceed with a patent application, Myers Lin can assist in preparing and filing the patent application. For utility patent applications, a determination should also be made whether to file a utility patent application or to file a provisional patent application which can be converted into a utility patent application. Provisional patent applications must be converted into a utility patent application within a year, but have less formal requirements and are thus less expensive. Myers Lin can also assist in making this determination.
The firm also has experience in matters related to patents such as licensing, and drafting freedom to operate opinions, non-infringement opinions, and invalidity opinions.