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How long do your intellectual property rights remain in effect?

There are several intellectual property tools that entrepreneurs can utilize to protect their creative or business assets. Protections granted by intellectual property remains in effect for various amounts of time after being awarded them.

Patents, which are used to protect the use of a product in a new way and its composition or manufacturing process, remain in effect for at least 20 years from the time an inventor applies for protection. Patent holders must pay filing maintenance fees at the 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5-year marks after the patent has been initially granted. Successfully paying filing fees preserves an entrepreneur’s rights to their intellectual property throughout the two decades.

Copyrights are assigned to authored works that are preserved in a fixed form. Individuals aren’t required to copyright their work to enjoy protections from being copied or sampled. However, authors must have copyrighted their work if they plan to sue someone for violating their rights. This type of intellectual property right generally remains in effect for the remainder of the time that the copyright holder is alive plus an additional 70 years post-mortem. Anonymous works are protected for between 95 and 120 years after they’re created.

Trademarks, which generally refer to the registration of a symbol, word, design or phrase that distinguishes a brand from others, remain in effect forever provided that they are still being readily used. However, rights protected by a trademark may only be enforceable here in the U.S. and not abroad. Individuals or entities who maintain intellectual property rights over a trademark may be required to file maintenance documents every so often if they wish to remain in control over their trademarked logo, slogan or any other protected artistic work.

Unfortunately, these intellectual property right timelines often don’t deter others from trying to steal your ideas. However, these time frames do allow you to establish your rights to certain information and hold anyone who violates your rights accountable for their actions.

An intellectual property litigation attorney can advise you whether you are covered by the built-in protections associated with copyrights, patents or trademarks. An experienced intellectual property lawyer can also advise you whether to file suit if someone infringes on your rights.

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Starting a new business can be a bit scary. Aside from worries of failure, there’s also the hassle of making sure all legal paperwork are properly filed. I reached out to Mr. Wang (Tommy) because of his excellent reviews and reputation and I am so glad I did. He was thorough and meticulous in answering all of my concerns and took time to find out special laws and policies regarding the kind of business I am starting. I could focus on the daily practical side of starting my new office without worry because I felt Tommy was reliable and took my case seriously. My business is opened and it’s all been a smooth start because of Tommy’s help. I have plans to start another business venture in the next few years and I already know I’ll be coming back to Wang IP Law.

The Shindig W.

I came to Tommy for help reviewing a licensing agreement I had secured with a well-known manufacturer. Tommy made sure I understood all the details in the contract and he negotiated with the company to improve my side of the deal. I mentioned to Tommy at my first consultation that we were looking to expand throughout the US and were investing a lot of money to make a big entrance into the market. I did not think I would have my store open so soon but Tommy also has connections with the local area and realtors to help me secure the location for my first store in the Los Angeles area. Tommy works a lot with the local businesses and he understands how to transition from the Asian market to US market. Within 8 months my store was open for business and fully operating. I must recommend Tommy to any business owners looking for help with contracts and improving their side of the deal. Tommy has the knowledge and experience to make sure there is a smooth process to open for business here, and make sure that your company is set up for success.


I think Tommy and his team by far considered the best people to work with in my 16 business years. Beside quick responses to all my inquiries, they also done things right and providing very professional solutions. I’m highly recommending Tommy and his firm to all business owners.

Calvin C.

I have been working on my Utility Patent for almost 4 years. I have hired and fired two very reputable IP firms because with all their expertise and reputation for being some of the top firms in IP Law, I felt a lack of connection and care in my product, time and financial investment. Then I found Tommy and his team. Tommy does not waste time. He and his team are professional and extremely thorough. After 4 years, I finally found a legal team that I felt spent the time to really understand the components of my utility patent. Tommy also very mindful of cost and how and where my money would be better spent. I really feel I am in great hands with Tommy and his team. They have been patient with my revisions. And most importantly, they made me feel that they fully understood the importance this patent is to me. It has been a great and comforting pleasure working with Tommy.


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