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Intellectual Property

Your business’s success may depend very much on protection of its brand, product, and secrets. We can help you achieve that protection.

Trademark - Copyright - Licensing - Infringement of Rights
Trade Secrets - Confidentiality - Nondisclosure Agreements

Nearly all businesses offer a product (a physical product, a delivered product such as entertainment, or a service) to a target market to satisfy a desire or need (real or perceived – remember perception is often reality). How do you differentiate your product from that of a competitor? Branding. Coca-Cola® and Pepsi® products have a similar appearance and taste as a carbonated beverage. What sets them apart? Branding.

You likely will spend a great deal of time, effort, and money to develop both your product and your brand. How can you prevent someone else from profiting from your hard work and investment by simply appropriating for themselves your product or brand (or your other confidential information and trade secrets)? By protecting them under Intellectual Property laws – Trademark, Copyright, Trade Secret, and other protection.

Sparkman + Foote has the experience and expertise to help you develop and protect your products and brand by working with you to:

  • Determine what you can protect, what you need to protect, and how to protect it by obtaining the appropriate Intellectual Property (IP) right, such as a trademark, copyright, patent, or confidentiality/nondisclosure agreement;
  • Grant others the right to use your IP through a License for a fee or other benefit;
  • Enforce your IP rights against improper or unlawful use by others, called Infringement;
  • Use your IP in a way that does not infringe the IP rights of others;
  • Identify and protect your Trade Secrets and other Confidential Information.

Call us for effective, practical assistance with your valuable Intellectual Property.

Below is some additional information on Trademarks and Copyrights.

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark applies to service rather than goods. Some examples are brand names, slogans, and logos. The term "trademark" is often used in a general sense to refer to both trademarks and service marks.

Federal registration of a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has several advantages, including a notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership of the mark nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services stated in the registration.

Unlike patents and copyrights, trademarks do not expire after a set term of years.  Federal trademark rights come from actual “use” of the mark in interstate commerce. Therefore, a trademark registration can last forever - so long as you file specific documents and pay fees at regular intervals.

A copyright protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.  The duration of copyright protection depends on several factors.  For works created by an individual, protection lasts for the life of the author, plus 70 years.  For works created anonymously, pseudonymously, and for hire, protection lasts 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

Both trademark and copyright protection can extend internationally by proper filing and maintenance of registration.