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Protecting and defending your intellectual property

When you start a company, create a work of art or design an innovative product, it's important to ensure it's protected. If not, others can come along and capitalize on your hard work. There are a wide range of protections under intellectual property laws in the United States:

  • Copyrights. As a branch of intellectual property law, it primarily focuses on protecting the artistic rights of producers. This essentially means empowering them with exclusive rights to produce their work, display it, create accompanying music and enjoy the fruits of their hard-earned income. Copyright infringement is considered a major felony in the U.S and offenders are liable to a hefty penalty.
  • Trademarks. Trademarks protect logos words or symbols that distinguish one brand's goods and services from another. A good example is the Nike swoosh. It's instantly identifiable with the iconic sports brand and would be considered trademark infringement if another brand tried to use a similar mark.
  • Patents. Patents simply protect inventions from being copied, sold or used by other individuals within a specified duration.

Under the U.S law , patents are categorized into three main distinctions:

  • Design Patents. Such patents protect the unique manufacturing design incorporated in a new object.
  • Utility Patents. Such patents aim at protecting inventions with a particular function such as technology, machines and chemicals.
  • Plant Patents. These patents focus on protecting individual plant varieties such as hybrids with economic value.

If you feel someone has infringed on your intellectual property, you may want to contact an attorney. He or she may be able to help you protect your business.

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