Intellectual Property Law

Katherine Collany
November 17, 2008 — 1,283 views  

Intellectual property is a creation of the human intellect that has commercial worth. This type of property covers a wide scope of creations including songs, designs and artwork, product names, mechanical inventions, formulas, and software. The value of intellectual property comes from the capability of the owner to control its use. Intellectual property law predominantly offers protection to the owner of intellectual property by bestowing the owner the right to file a lawsuit asking a court to implement whatever rights are being contravened. Some might refer to the intellectual property rights as affirmative rights rather than as protection. Intellectual property rights are tools that can be used when needed. A copyright owner must sue the copier in order to stop the progress of unauthorized copying otherwise the copier will get away with the illegal activities.

Intellectual property law consists of a number of distinct legal classes. Even though these categories may overlap each other, they have their own uniqueness and terms. Trade secret law allows the owner of commercial information the right to keep others from using such information. Copyright law protects all types of inventive and creative expression. Some examples might be authors, composers, designers, and computer and software programmers. Trademark law protects the uniqueness of names, logos, colors, packaging, symbols, or slogans that are utilized by businesses to recognize the source of their goods and services and differentiate them in the marketplace. Patent law gives the inventor of a new and nonapparent creation the right to exclusive use of that invention for a limited period. Infrequently these categories of law will traverse with each other with regard to specific intellectual property items. Some conventional examples of overlapping are trade secret and copyright law, trade secret and patent, copyright and trademark, and patent, copyright and trademark. Intellectual property is always placed amid the hottest areas of law. It is one of the fastest changing practices of law.

An example of a trademark law case is International Star Class Yacht Racing Association v. Tommy Hilfiger U.S.A. Inc. Tommy Hilfiger U.S.A., Inc. plead for its attorneys to complete a limited trademark quest for the words "STAR CLASS." The exploration discovered no matching registered federal trademarks. Although its lawyers suggested that a full trademark search be executed, Hilfiger set in motion the production of men's clothing displaying the words "STAR CLASS." A comprehensive search afterward revealed that International Star Class Yacht Racing Association (ISCYRA) previously owned a comparable mark. The U.S. Court of Appeals declared that for plaintiff, ISCYRA, to recoup an accounting of earnings and attorneys' fees against defendant, Hilfiger, plaintiff has to verify that Hilfiger took action in bad faith. The court noticed, however, that Hilfiger cannot lay claim to a good faith idea that it was not contravening on ISCYRA's mark because it neither fully investigated others' rights to "Star Class" nor terminated its contravening activities when it was prosecuted. The case was remitted with the district court concluding that a lack of evidence existed to ascertain that Hilfiger's utilization of the mark was in bad faith and disallowing ISCYRA's demand for an accounting of earnings and attorney's fees.

Some more examples of intellectual property include the trademark Dr. Pepper and The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Nike swoosh symbol. Some trade secrets include KFC's 17 secret ingredients of herbs and spices and Coca-Cola's secret recipe for making Coke. Nike's slogan "Just Do It" is an example of a copyright and a trademark. There is a company that has the patent on call center software. There employees consist of 17 attorneys that sue other companies that use their software. Disney has trademarks on their cartoons. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer is no longer a brewing company but is brewed by Miller license. There are many brands that do not actually produce anything but merely license names to factories. Many clothing companies produce clothing in the same sweat shops and put their individual brand name on the clothing items. As you can see there are many examples of names that are protected from someone else taking there inventive idea to profit from. Intellectual property rights revolutionize the environment of competition in the business world. Companies and industries that engage themselves with intellectual property rights face limited competition and can enjoy elevated profits. By expanding the intellectual property rights you elevate the pace of profit obtainable by companies.

About the Author

Katherine Collany is a real estate professional and is currently an administrative assistant for a not-for-profit organization. She has over 10 years of real estate professionalism in NC and FL. Katherine is also currently enrolled in the Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship Program at Western Carolina University.

Katherine Collany