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Trade secret protection: What's all the seriousness about?

Smart business principals and start-up entrepreneurs in California and elsewhere routinely emphasize forward movement. They do so for obvious reasons, of course. They know that expanding their operations and market reach cannot be accomplished without constant innovation.

That enduring develop-or-languish business truth is underscored in one online source discussing commercial development strategies. It warns that “complacency renders companies obsolete.”

New bill aims to reduce bad-faith patent infringement claims

Actively protecting classified intellectual property is one of the most highly-prioritized tasks for many organizations in California. The loss of sensitive information can expose a company's unique strategies and could ultimately destroy their success. Patents for one, are a valuable resource for entrepreneurs and businesses alike to utilize in their efforts to protect their product from being copied by other entities. 

One lawmaker is pushing to educate people on the negative effects that so-called "patent trolls" can have on the economy when they file bad-faith claims alleging patent infringement. The process these trolls follow begins when they file a patent infringement claim with a compelling argument but filled with baseless details. Often, they require the person or entity against which they filed the claim to pay a series of payments before they remove the claims. 

How does copyright law apply to parody and satire?

It is common for some parties to use the text, pictures or logos of a California company while claiming that their depiction is intended to be humorous and thus perfectly legal. However, that might not always be the case, so if you find your IP being used by another party in this manner, you should understand how copyright law looks at works that are considered parodies and satires to see if you have a case.

According to the American Bar Association, the Supreme Court has validated the use of parody because it provides a form of commentary on an earlier work, and by doing so creates a new work. This is considered a "transformative" work which fair use allows for. Basically, a parody that samples another work and creates a transformative work is likely to be held as legally permissible under fair use. The more transformative the work is, the more probable it is that a judge will not have a problem with it.

Why are copyrights important in today's market?

As a business owner in California, it doesn't matter if you are an up-and-coming business star, a well-established franchise, or a proud owner of a mom-and-pop shop. Intellectual property - and how you protect it - will have an impact on your success today, tomorrow, and well into the future. We at Wang Intellectual Property dedicate our time to helping you achieve the best future your business or brand can have, starting with copyrights.

Why exactly are copyrights so important? Simply put, they allow you to protect your unique products, processes, and creations in a market that frankly has a lot of theft going on. With the advent of the internet, everything from trade secrets to innovative ideas for new products can spread to hundreds of thousands of people with a single click of a button. By registering and enforcing a copyright, you are adding an extra layer of security to the future of your business.

Understanding deceptive trade practices

At Wang IP Law Group, P.C., we represent numerous entrepreneurs and companies start, grow, maintain and protect their businesses in California and abroad. We therefore know that one of the vulnerabilities businesses face is that of being sued, either civilly or criminally, for deceptive trade practices.

As FindLaw explains, a deceptive trade practice is any means by which you and/or your company falsely lures the public into buying your product or service. While deceptive trade practices can and do take many forms, the vast majority of civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions arise because of alleged false advertising, specifically the following three types:

  1. Bait and switch: offering your product(s) for sale at a very good price, but claiming unavailability of it/them when the customers get there and offering to sell them a similar but higher priced substitute product instead
  2. Deceptive pricing: holding a false sale of your product(s) by raising their original price(s) in advance of the "sale," only to go back to the original price(s) during the "sale"
  3. Low stock: deliberately having a low inventory of the product(s) you offer for sale, but a large inventory of similar, higher priced product(s); similar to a bait and switch

You have intellectual property to defend. Now what?

Californian entrepreneurs, business owners, startup hopefuls and more will all eventually come to a point where there is intellectual property (copyright, trademark, and patent) to protect. Wang Intellectual Property specializes in giving you the tools and defenses needed to keep your intellectual property (IP) rights safe.

There are two primary steps when it comes to intellectual property: first, you must establish your intellectual property rights and, second, you must defend them.

Establishing IP rights comes in the form of registering your IP with the proper U.S. agency. In order to do so, you will need to know what paperwork to fill out, if there are any deadlines to meet, and whether the specific IP you are trying to register has any special requirements.

Intellectual property laws and the things that threaten them

Companies in California are coming up with new, innovative products and services on a daily basis. While they often search for protection with patent, trademarks or copyrights, some do not realize that the creations of the mind are also protected as intellectual property. According to the California Department of General Services, intellectual property covers things such as words, symbols, software, phrases, logos, discoveries and designs.

The Heartland Institute states that the United States comes in first when it comes to intellectual property laws in comparison to the world's 50 largest economies. The recent report states that up to $6 trillion of the country's gross domestic product and almost 45 million jobs are produced by industries that are IP intensive.

How is a breach of contract defined?

As a business owner in California, you know that contracts are an integral aspect of doing business. While you hope for the best, breaches of contract can certainly occur, and these may cost your enterprise both money and time. The Balance explains some of the basics of contractual breaches so you can take the proper steps to have issues rectified.

There are a few different types of breaches that may occur. If you believe the other party has no intention of committing to their contractual obligations you may file an anticipatory breach, although these are usually much harder to uphold. There are also material breaches, which means that the issue is so severe that the other party is not capable of keeping his part in the agreement. A partial breach is one that is not so serious, and as a result, the other party would be expected to adhere to the terms laid out in the contract.

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