In our last installment, we gave you a quick overview of some possible scenarios in which the expertise of an Intellectual Property (IP) attorney may be needed. Here are those scenarios explained in more detail:
1. You are unsure whether or not you have an original process or product: Granted by the Federal Government, the patent process starts with the inventor filing an application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. This detailed application is laden with complex legal jargon. It becomes apparent whether or not the invention is suitable to patent as the inventor completes the application. An attorney would be able to explain the application in laymen’s terms, thereby making the process easier.
2. You are involved with the Information Technology industry and need to create a licensing agreement: The purpose of a licensing agreement is to allow the inventor to charge for the use of his/her creative work or product. For example, in order for certain earbud and speaker manufacturers to market products as iPhone-compatible, Apple had to grant its permission. Agreements can vary in length, but an IP attorney can present you with a wide array of options, protecting your rights in the way in which you’re most comfortable.
3. You are in the entertainment industry and someone has used your name, voice, or likeness in an advertisement without your permission: Breach of Right of Publicity is often confused with trademark and copyright infringement. Indiana’s Right of Publicity law protects all individuals’ “…name, voice, signature, photograph, image, likeness, distinctive appearance, gestures or mannerisms.” This year, Indiana considered toughening its “James Dean Law” to protect and extend rights to the estates and families of dead celebrities. The protection is not only to see that the image-maker is properly compensated for the work generated in branding self. It is also to protect the way he or she is commercialized, if applicable.
Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to your ambitions. If you are serious about bringing your intellectual property to the next level or you’re protecting your precious work, getting an IP attorney involved from the beginning could be invaluable. Months or even years of work can dissipate in an instant if crucial steps in this process are missed.