Intellectual property is comprised of creative works, source identifiers for products and services, inventions (including processes), and commercially advantageous products, information or processes. They can be categorized as copyrights, trademarks, patents, and/or trade secret works and are protected in a variety of ways. At Black McCuskey, our team of professionals works with our clients to ensure they understand the value of their assets and provide full protection.
Copyright protects a creative idea which has been reduced to a fixed medium, whether software code, videotaping of a performance, written musical score, painting, sculpture, writing, etc. The attorneys of Black McCuskey assist our clients in the registration of copyright, licensing of use of copyrighted material, and drafting of work for hire agreements, as well as advice on whether work is in the “public domain” (no longer subject to copyright protection).
Trademarks are used as a source identifier for goods and services. Black McCuskey assists our clients in conducting a trademark search, filing applications for Ohio trademarks and federal trademarks, as well as drafting agreements for the licensing of trademarks. Care must be taken to ensure that the trademark is used in connection with the goods and/or services stated and that the trademark is used only as a source identifier. Failure to use a trademark can result in loss of the trademark rights.
Patents are federal legal rights granted to inventors for exclusive control of the right to practice the patented invention. Patents are granted on all kinds of products, processes and methods, including methods of manufacture and methods of doing business. The patent attorneys of Black McCuskey have many years of experience at obtaining U.S. and foreign patents in many different fields of technology, and in licensing, enforcing and monetizing patent assets. They guide clients through the complex and rapidly changing patent laws, and develop and implement patent strategies that make business sense.
Unlike copyright, trademarks or patents, which disclose the intellectual property of the owner so that others will not copy or infringe the intellectual property rights of the owner, trade secrets constitute a valuable competitive asset because they are unknown to others in the industry. Our clients are advised on how to protect their trade secrets by drafting and negotiating non-disclosure agreements and non-competition agreements for use with the client’s employees and other third parties.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LICENSING
Owners of intellectual property often profit most from the licensing of such rights to others. Both the licensor and licensee must take care in the licensing of intellectual property rights to set forth the scope of the rights licensed and the rights retained by the IP owner. Our attorneys draft and negotiate licensing agreements, as well as advise our clients of what steps must be taken to reduce risk of infringement claims.
With the proliferation of information on the Internet, it is not uncommon for persons to assume that anything posted on the Internet is in the “public domain” and therefore can be used freely by anyone. This is not always true and such usage can invite litigation by the intellectual property owner against such infringing use. Our clients are advised of the necessary steps to reduce risk of infringement claims and how to mitigate associated losses.
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