Intellectual property laws are incredibly complex. It is important when a creator of a new idea or invention brings their work to fruition, that they are adequately protected. Intellectual property refers to the ownership rights that a person has over their work. This includes trademarks, patents, and copyright. While this area of law can be difficult to understand, we have put together this easy to follow guide about what you need to know about intellectual property laws.
How is Intellectual Property Created?
When you need to protect some sort of intellectual property, you need to complete the proper requirements. These vary depending on the type of protection you are requesting but all of them require that the work be an original idea. It cannot just be a slightly modified variation of another idea.
Who Owns the Intellectual Property?
The person who owns the copyright, trademark, or patent owns the intellectual property. The owner can transfer or sell the intellectual property with the proper forms.
An exclusive license is permission by the intellectual property owner to use their idea, product, work, for a limited purpose. The owner still maintains all rights but gives limited authorization for use to a third party. For example, if a movie wanted to use a particular song in a scene, the song creator can give a license to use it.
“Fair Use” Doctrine
The “fair use” doctrine is a very common defense to a copyright violation. 17 U.S.C. §107. This doctrine allows an individual to use copyrighted material for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, and research without permission from the copyright owner. While it is a defense, the violator would have the burden to prove that this is “fair use” and not a copyright violation if litigation is pursued.