Bentonville Intellectual Property Attorneys
Protecting the Intellectual Property Rights of Individuals and Businesses in Bentonville
As an individual creator or a business, you almost certainly own intellectual property with potentially significant economic value. Intellectual property may be a product unto itself, something that defines and differentiates your brand, or a process or secret that gives you a competitive advantage. However, your intellectual property is only as valuable as the measures you take to protect it.
At Potts Law Firm, we can help you understand your intellectual property rights and take steps to protect your copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. If you learn someone is misappropriating your intellectual property, we can help you take legal action and fight for compensation if you suffer damages as a result of the theft. Our Bentonville intellectual property lawyers have over 250 years of collective experience and recovered over $1 billion for our clients, making us well-equipped to handle conflicts of all scopes and complexities.
Call (479) 323-3738 or contact us online to schedule a complimentary consultation. Our firm offers same-day appointments and provides services in English and Spanish.
Understanding the Different Types of Intellectual Property
Intellectual property is intangible, meaning it is a type of asset that does not have a singular form or instance. A piece of intellectual property can thus be copied, shared, or used multiple times, potentially in a variety of contexts. When someone owns a piece of intellectual property, they have the exclusive right to use it. This exclusive right typically has economic value and confers a competitive advantage. Ownership of some types of intellectual property is automatically triggered upon creation, but registration bolsters an owner’s rights and options when intellectual property is misappropriated.
Our Bentonville intellectual property attorneys can help you with:
- Trademarks. Consumers rely on trademarks to identify and differentiate organizations, products, and services. Examples of marks that can be trademarked include slogans, symbols, logos, and short strings of words. These marks must be sufficiently unique and actively used for commercial purposes (or planned to be imminently used for commercial purposes). Limited trademark rights are automatically granted when a mark that meets these qualifications is first used in a given geographic area, but these rights are limited to the area in which the commercial entity is operating. To enforce your rights and protect your trademarks in other geographic areas, you must register them with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If you continue to use your trademarks and consistently renew their registrations, you can generally enjoy exclusive rights to them indefinitely.
- Copyrights. Copyrights cover tangible expressions of original artistic creations like novels, films, poetry, art, architectural designs, and computer software. There must be a tangible execution of an idea for it to be copyrightable, as ideas alone do not qualify for intellectual property protection. Like trademarks, some limited copyright protection is triggered automatically when a work is created, but registering your copyrights is the only way you will be able to file infringement lawsuits when your work is stolen or misappropriated. Though ownership of a copyright can be transferred to someone else, they expire 70 years after the death of the original creator. If an employee creates a copyrightable work for an employer, the work is considered a “work for hire,” and the copyright expires 95 years after its creation.
- Patents. An invention may be patentable if it is novel, useful, and innovative. Machines, processes, chemicals, manufactured plants, and designs (specifically, the appearance of something) are all potentially patentable. Patent protection is not automatic when something is invented: You must register your invention with the USPTO as soon as possible, as you could lose your chance to exclusively use it if someone else registers a substantially similar invention before you do. Most patents expire 20 years after the date their applications are filed with the USPTO, though plant patents expire only 15 years after the date their applications were filed.
- Trade Secrets. If a piece of information is known only to people within your organization and has inherent economic value that would be diminished if it were known to people outside your organization, the information likely qualifies as a “trade secret” under intellectual property law. You must also make a clear and concerted effort to keep proprietary information secret to benefit from trade secret protections, which can be accomplished through information security measures and restrictive covenants, such as nondisclosure and noncompete agreements. You may be able to take legal action and seek damages if trade secrets are misappropriated or otherwise secured illegally.
Why Is It Important to Enforce My Intellectual Property Rights?
The law empowers you to decide how your intellectual property will be used. You can choose to only use it yourself, sell it outright to someone else, or give others the opportunity to use it in certain ways. If someone misappropriates your intellectual property, you must fight the infringement to both protect your interests as well as avoid the risk of losing your right to that property. If you do not make a reasonable effort to enforce your intellectual property rights, you could lose the exclusive right to exploit that intellectual property in the future.
Our legal professionals can help you meet enforcement requirements if you discover anyone is using your intellectual property without your permission. That may involve sending a cease-and-desist letter. If the misappropriation does not stop, our Bentonville intellectual property lawyers are ready to represent you in litigation filed against the infringing party.
Struggling to fight intellectual property theft? Call (479) 323-3738 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help.
I had a wonderful experience with this law firm.- Stephen P.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him or any of the team at Potts.- Theo C.
The Potts Law Firm is a powerhouse of brilliant attorneys.- Molly H.
I would recommend Potts Law Firm for any and all legal matters that come my way in the future!- W. Gary
Great law firm!- Hugo G.