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Keep your trademark safe

When you run a business in California, you usually develop a unique brand. If you want to protect this brand, it is a good idea to establish a trademark. We at Wang IP Law Group, P.C., know it is important for you to understand how you can protect this trademark.

A trademark usually needs to be actively used if you want to protect it. FindLaw says this means you need to offer services associated with your trademarked phrase, idea or logo. It is a good idea to put a symbol behind your trademark so people know you are actively using the phrase or design. If your trademark is not registered, you should typically put TM behind it. If your trademark is registered, an "R" inside a circle should usually follow the trademark.

What is copyright infringement?

When you are the creator of a creative work, you have protection under the law so nobody else can take your work and claim it is theirs. This protection is offered at the federal level, so if you have a case of copyright infringement in California, it is handled by a federal court, not a state court. Protection for written works and some audio work is offered under a copyright. 

The concept of infringement can be confusing, but the U.S. Copyright Office, which regulates copyrights, explains it occurs when someone tries to take ownership of your work or uses it without your permission. This includes printing it in any form or distributing it in any way. You should know there are some exceptions where someone could use your work without your permission. However, exceptions are limited. 

How do I file for breach of contract?

As a business owner in California, you likely use contracts often to secure business deals. Under the law, contracts offer many protections, which is why they are used in business so much. However, despite the legal protections, there may still come a time when someone tries to break a contract with you. This is called a breach of contract. 

When a breach of contract occurs, the California Judicial Branch explains you have the right to file a lawsuit against the person breaking the contract. Where you file is based on the monetary damages or how much you lost because of the action. If it is under $5,000, it is filed with the small claims court. Otherwise, it is filed in county court. 

Does industrial espionage still occur?

The Cold War may be over, but espionage never goes out of style. In fact, it may be one of the oldest activities on Earth. Since man began inventing and acquiring objects, even the simplest of tools and adornments, it is a sure bet that someone else has wanted to borrow, share or steal it from them, or at least, acquire the knowledge to make their own. Industrial espionage, also known as economic espionage, is still alive and well today.

The American Bar Association notes that, along with companies, many individuals and even governments around the world have used cyber espionage to steal trade secrets from U.S. businesses in ever-increasing amounts. It is not hard to understand why when, in 2010 alone, intellectual property accounted for nearly 35 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, valued at $5.06 trillion.

Considering product licensing? What the licensor should know

For inventors focused on research and design, aspects of manufacturing and marketing can be an unwelcome challenge. Product licensing can be a way for an inventor to launch an idea and bring their product to market. For many, product licensing offers an ideal balance of potential risks and return on investment.

Once the inventor has created an idea and then protected it by securing any patents or trademarks through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the idea can be licensed out to another company, often a manufacturer. The original owner becomes the licensor and the company purchasing the rights evolves into the licensee. The licensee pays royalties to the licensor, a tradeoff for the ability to increase their sales.

Using patent-sharing to expand into new markets

A breaking news story has just come out that Google and Tencent, China’s biggest tech company, have agreed to share patents covering a range of products and technologies.

Tencent Holdings, Ltd., best known for its WeChat messaging app, is the fifth largest tech company worldwide. The company has been expanding its reach beyond the mainland and has recently acquired a 12 percent stake in Snap, Inc. Tencent also recently released a U.S. version of the company’s hit game, Honor of Kings. The new version, Arena of Valor, features DC superheroes Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman. Tencent has also invested in Spotify and Tesla.

What is unfair competition?

California business owners just like you strive to provide customers with excellent service and premium products. So what do you do if you feel an opponent is getting ahead in the market through underhanded means? In some cases, you may be facing unfair competition.

As the Legal Information Institute states, unfair competition is a term used for situations in which another company employs underhanded methods or unfair advantages to gain traction in the market. Specific examples can include deceptive practices like another company intentionally creating a logo that mimics yours in order to leech off of your established reputation. By confusing your consumer base and tricking them into thinking their product belongs to you or your brand, they ride on your coattails, using your hard work to their advantage. Even worse, they risk damaging your reputation if the product they offer isn't up to snuff.

Discussing the intricacies of copyrights

Copyrights are vital parts of the world of intellectual property. Alongside patents, trademarks, and trade secrets, copyrights round out a wide range of critical pieces of intellectual property that afford a bevy of rights to individuals for their hard work and creations. So what are trademarks exactly and what do you need to know about such an important part of our world?

Copyrights are reserved for people who create original works in a tangible form. This doesn't mean that the works need to be published, however that helps of course. Someone who is granted a copyright then is given the exclusive right to reproduce, republish, and sell the work of authorship. The copyright only covers the "form of material expression" not the concepts or ideas included in the original work. This is why it needs to be in a tangible form.

What constitutes copyright infringement?

When a California resident creates an original work that has been presented in a fixed state, meaning you have recorded it in a tangible way such as written, photographed or otherwise physically documented, obtaining a copyright allows for that work to be protected. However, that is not to say copyright infringement will not occur. But what, exactly, constitutes infringement?

According to Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law, one way infringement can occur is when a person who is not the originator creates a copy or reproduction of the work in question. Derivatives of the original work can also constitute copyright infringement, such as working from your original in order to create a new piece. Distortions, recreating with different mediums and using your work as a subsection of a new creation may all qualify as infringements.

A patent is just the start of your invention's journey

Earning a patent for your invention is a significant step in your journey as a scientist or entrepreneur, but it is not the end. In fact, it is just the beginning of a more substantial undertaking with your new idea. There are plenty of resources available to walk you through the steps to gain a patent, but what happens after that?

Contact Us To Get Started

Contact Us To Get Started

Contact our office to schedule a free, initial consultation by dialing 888-827-8880 or by completing our brief, online questionnaire. Based in Los Angeles, our firm represents clients throughout California and in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Israel.

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