Intellectual Property Attorney
Creatives, innovators, and inventors all understand the inherent value of their work as well as the long-term potential. All forms of intellectual property—patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets—provide their creators with a prospective stream of revenue that can transition a startup into a multi-level company or take a small business from a local market to an international one. Any attempts to infringe, steal, or copy intellectual property can be detrimental to a business.
If you fear that your intellectual property is being infringed upon, then do not hesitate to contact an experienced intellectual property attorney at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP by calling (903) 212-2822. Your ideas and innovations should be protected at all times and no one should illegally profit off of them.
New innovations and methodologies are born every day, and with them come the need to protect the value of each idea. Corporations of all sizes will attempt to take a share of your profits, whether you are a startup, inventor, creative, or small business. Our experienced team of experts can aid in intellectual property cases such as:
- Patent Disputes: Patents are the lifeblood of most growing startups and small businesses, driving a company through the early stages of investment and growth. When another company or individual utilizes your patent without your permission, all your hard work is put in jeopardy and you must now focus time and resources on defending your IP. Whether a manufacturer is utilizing your product’s design, or a technology company has stolen your original software, consulting a knowledgeable patent attorney should be your first step in pursuing a patent dispute.
- Trademark Infringement: A trademark is extremely important to any brand’s long-term development and protecting your company’s good will. If you are a small, local business, it can be difficult to identify and stop trademark infringement. Determining whether trademark infringement is occurring and whether anything can be done to stop it can be confusing and will require an in-depth knowledge of intellectual property law.
- Copyright Infringement: Like all intellectual property matters, copyright law is extremely complex, and many creative individuals fall victim to copyright infringement without ever knowing it. Determining what your rights and remedies are can be complicated, and pursuing them can be expensive. That does not mean, however, that someone should be allowed to use your creative work without permission. Under the right circumstances, someone who has used your creation without permission might have to pay you every penny they made from using your work. Deciding what rights and remedies you have will require the assistance of a knowledgeable intellectual property attorney—and we can help.
- Misappropriation of Trade Secrets: Some of the most valuable business ideas are protected by trade secrets in the forms of secret recipes or secret methods. Because of their confidential nature, trade secrets are often not registered with the federal government. But that does not mean you do not have legal options if someone has stolen your trade secrets. An intellectual property lawyer can help determine if information was misappropriated by an individual or a corporation, the potential value of the trade secret, and what rights and remedies you have as a result.
Given the scope of protection offered for each type of intellectual property, this is an area that can become complicated quickly. For any type of intellectual property, however, the first step is ensuring you have adequately protected your creation on the front end. For patents, this means filing for and obtaining a patent from the United States Patent Office. It also means maintaining your patent through proper payment of maintenance fees. For trademarks, it is similarly wise to register your mark with the United States Trademark Office—a sister branch within the organization commonly referred to as the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). As with patents, additional affidavits will need to be filed with the United States Trademark Office to maintain and strengthen the rights in a trademark. For copyrights, registration is not required for rights to exist but is extremely helpful and recommended. Copyright registration can be completed through the United States Copyright Office. Trade secrets do not have a similar federal registration avenue but should be protected on the front end by controlling who has access to the secrets and maintaining agreements to keep the secrets confidential.
As we have discussed federal registration, a word of caution is in order. A very popular claim is the practice of an inventor, author, or artist sending themselves a copy of their creation by certified mail. This is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” The myth goes that having the postage stamp provides the creator with rights under the law. Unfortunately, this is pure myth, and sending yourself a copy of your creation does not provide any of the protection provided by federal registration of a copyright or a trademark, or the rights that accompany a federally issued patent.
Not surprising, intellectual property protection varies depending on the type of creation being protected, the unique circumstances of each case and the applicable state and federal laws. The different types of intellectual properties are all protected by unique laws. Patents are protected patent laws, and the same can be said for trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. For example, trade secrets might be protected by the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act—the passage of which Derek Gilliland was involved with—or one of the many uniform trade secret laws adopted by other states.
Determining what law applies, whether you have a viable case, and where and how to file a case on the improper use of your patent, trade secrets, copyrights, or trademarks is a matter you should discuss directly with an attorney.
The legal protections and registrations can go a long way in protecting intellectual property, and they can often make the difference as to whether you have a viable case. If you believe your patents, copyrights, or trademarks have been infringed upon or your trade secrets misappropriated despite your best efforts, your attorney can argue in court that you took every reasonable measure to protect your intellectual property.
No one should get a free ride off your creative efforts or be allowed to profit off of your work without your permission. But navigating the twists-and-turns of intellectual property law on your own is a daunting task. That is why you need a knowledgeable intellectual property trial attorney at your side every step of the way to ensure that your legal rights and ideas are protected.
Our lead intellectual property attorney Derek Gilliland is a registered patent attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and he has extensive experience in and outside the courtroom recovering multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for clients. He has been an invaluable voice in multiple high-stakes intellectual property cases. Contact Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP at (903) 212-2822 today to schedule a free consultation.
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